Number of Lobbyist-Fundraisers for 2008 Presidential Candidates on Pace to Eclipse 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C.– With more than a year left until the 2008 election, presidential candidates already have signed up two-thirds as many lobbyist-fundraisers as they did for the entire 2004 campaign season.

According to a study Public Citizen released today, candidates already have signed up 92 federal lobbyists, compared to the 136 lobbyists who raised money for 2004 candidates. And the candidates’ army of lobbyist-fundraisers will likely grow because 70 percent of the 2004 lobbyist-fundraisers are still on the sidelines.

In-house, or salaried, lobbyists particularly appear to be holding back until front-runners emerge. While dozens of in-house trade association and corporate lobbyists signed up as fundraisers – mostly for Bush – during the 2004 campaign, only four have signed up so far for the 2008 race, according to available information. Those who have signed up are mainly from lobbying firms.

To better track candidates’ fundraising efforts, Public Citizen has created a new feature on its Web site, http://www.whitehouseforsale.org/, that indicates whether each of the 2008 mega-fundraisers, often referred to as bundlers, have registered as federal lobbyists at any time since 1998.

The subject of accepting lobbyists’ fundraising help has driven a wedge between those Democratic front-runners who accept their help and those who don’t. A recent Gallup poll found that fully three-quarters of adults of voting age consider contributions from lobbyists to be “unacceptable.”

“It is stunning with so many serial fundraisers holding back that the number of 2008 lobbyists is already approaching 2004 levels,” said Laura MacCleery, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “It’s just another sign that the unhealthy, symbiotic relationship that binds politicians and lobbyists continues in force.”

Republican John McCain and Democrat Hillary Clinton each have enlisted more than twice as many lobbyist-fundraisers as any candidate in their respective parties, according to information available. Clinton’s showing was not a surprise given that her two top competitors, Barack Obama and John Edwards, have policies of not accepting federal lobbyists’ help, although a handful of their bundlers registered as lobbyists in years past.

Getting details about efforts made by the lobbyist-fundraisers for Republican candidates is more difficult than obtaining the same data from Democratic candidates. Unlike Clinton and Obama, who provide some information about how much their fundraisers have raked in, Republican front-runners have thus far offered next to no such information.

Public Citizen’s study found that 10 of the bundler-lobbyists are former members of Congress, including Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas, a McCain supporter; Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana, a Fred Thompson supporter; and Rep. and Gov. James J. Blanchard (D-Mich.), a Clinton supporter.
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Michael Bloomberg Sees the Light

I’m so excited to see New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg register as unaffiliated. It demonstrates that individuals from all walks of life are facing the cold hard facts. As Bloomberg said on Monday, “The politics of partisanship and the resulting inaction and excuses have paralyzed decision-making, primarily at the federal level, and the big issues of the day are not being addressed, leaving our future in jeopardy.”

It’s time we face the truth – across the country more and more people are fed-up with partisan politics. Voter participation is at an all time low. From coast to coast many people feel as though their voice and vote don’t matter. With more than 38 percent of active voters identifying as

Independents/unaffiliated it’s time we begin to understand and turn to face the change.
Whether or not Mayor Bloomberg runs for President, the mere fact that he’s registered as unaffiliated underscores the message sent by thousands of people across the country that their call for change be heard.

The key to success in the 2008 elections will not be the monotonous drum beat of partisan politics. Rather it’s who can inspire and motivate hundreds and thousands of voters to participate in our democracy and turn out to the polls to vote FOR someone.

People are looking for a fresh perspective — one that does not point the finger or blame another group of people for the economic and social failures within our broken system of government.
People are seeking someone who believes in addressing these fundamental problems with real solutions and not just applying a band-aid.

I know from listening to many, many people that the time for change is now. I trust those people, I agree with those people.

It’s time for true representation.

Finding ways to work together is the only road to real solutions. It’s time to breath new life into our democracy and it’s time to bring the power of our voices back into governing our country.

Annie Loyd
Independent, Candidate – US Congress, Arizona District 3