The latest primary dispute: Does Obama take oil money?
This is a new ad from Obama, playing now in Pennsylvania:
In response, the Clinton campaign rushed out a statement claiming that Obama does too accept money from oil and gas companies:
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Sen. Obama has received over $160,000 from the oil and gas companies. Two major bundlers for his campaign — George Kaiser and Robert Cavnar — are oil company CEOs. Sen. Obama has accepted money from Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron and just about every other major oil company.
Counters Obama’s press secretary Bill Burton, does not:
"Senator Obama is the only candidate in the race who doesn’t accept campaign contributions from special interests PACs and Washington lobbyists, and that includes oil companies and oil lobbyists."
So does Obama take money from oil companies or not? The answer is, yes and no. Mostly no. But not entirely no.
The Center for Responsive Politics offers a list of the top recipients of oil and gas money in the 2008 election cycle. I draw your attention to the highlighted names:
|1||Giuliani, Rudolph W (R)||Pres||$659,158|
|2||Romney, Mitt (R)||Pres||$442,063|
|3||Cornyn, John (R-TX)||Senate||$349,780|
|4||McCain, John (R)||Pres||$291,685|
|5||Clinton, Hillary (D)||Pres||$289,950|
|6||Richardson, Bill (D)||Pres||$206,125|
|7||Obama, Barack (D)||Pres||$163,840|
|8||Thompson, Fred (R)||Pres||$161,654|
|9||Domenici, Pete V (R-NM)||Senate||$148,350|
|10||Inhofe, James M (R-OK)||Senate||$143,800|
This reflects gifts from both PACs and those giving over $200. Obama’s campaign claims his money comes from the latter — individuals, not PACS or lobbyists. In that sense, Burton’s claim is legitimate.
They make much of this over on MyDD, but I’m not sure it exonerates Obama as fully as all that. I’m guessing most of the money did not come from janitors and fleet mechanics. Most of it came from oil executives, bundled in large amounts, on behalf of oil company interests.
Anyway, it’s another episode in silly season. Obviously the more relevant question is what Obama proposes to do about the high price of oil. On that score, it’s not promising that he led with a "windfall profits tax" on oil companies, one of the goofier pieces of demagoguery to take root among Dems lately.