Edwards is currently on a bus tour of Iowa.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards does not take campaign contributions from federal lobbyists and now he’s trying to convince the rest of the Democratic Party to live by his example.
Edwards sent his rival Illinois Sen. Barack Obama a letter on Thursday that asked Obama to join Edwards in asking the three major national Democratic Party campaign committees and every Democrat running for federal office to stop taking money from federal lobbyists.
“With more than 60 lobbyists for every member of Congress, the voices of regular Americans are being drowned out in Washington,” Edwards said in the letter.
“What we’re suggesting is there’s a pernicious connection between money and argument,” said Jonathan Prince, Edwards’ deputy campaign manager, in conference call with reporters Thursday. “When you’re giving money to the people you’re trying to convince, that’s going to change the dialogue,” Prince added.
Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton quickly responded, saying in a statement that it is not enough to refuse lobbyist money. Instead, “we have to curb their influence,” he said.
Pointing to Obama’s efforts to pass ethics legislation in the U.S. Senate, Burton also said that Sen. Obama “had done more to curb lobbyists’ influence than anyone else in this race.” Burton did not say whether Obama would join Edwards in asking the Democratic Party to turn down campaign contributions from federal lobbyists.
- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart