September 4th, 2007
04:46 PM ET
12 years ago

Richardson: I take lobbyist money

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson shakes hands out on the campaign trail.

OSCEOLA, Iowa (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson said Tuesday that he has no problem taking money from federal lobbyists.

"What am I supposed to [do]?" the New Mexico governor asked. "I have enough trouble raising money to run a campaign."

Two other Democratic candidates, former Sen. John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama, have turned the issue of not accepting campaign contributions from Washington lobbyists into a major staple of their campaigns. But not Richardson.

"The unions have lobbyists in Washington," Richardson said. "I take money from them. Nurses, environmentalists, senior citizens."

While acknowledging that he supports certain restrictions be place on lobbyist contributions, he added, "But to say, you know, ban all lobbyists?... I just want to be realistic. You know there are a lot of slogans out there, and I think we want honesty."

Last month, Sen. Hillary Clinton defended her practice of accepting lobbyist contributions. At a forum in early August she said lobbyists "represent real Americans." At that same forum, Richardson said it was "silly" to refuse lobbyist money. He told the crowd the candidates are "sucking up to you... [with] slogans that get you cheering."

- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Related: Obama wants more transparency in lobbying

Filed under: Bill Richardson • Iowa
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Whether a streetwalker candidate services unions or corporations is immaterial– Edwards is right about refusing any of it.

    September 4, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. Jon E. Albuquerque, NM

    Its too bad hardly anyone knows Who Bill Richardson is much less know that New Mexico is a state. Bill Richardson is a GREAT man but unfortunately not very well known enough to even get considered on the campaign trail.

    September 4, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Jayson, Beale AFB, CA

    So individuals in Mr Richardsons book are incapable of writing out donations to candidates?

    Last time I checked the position of President was to work for the American people, not the local Unions or other folks with money to go out and buy themselves a lobbyist...

    September 4, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. Christian, Tampa FL

    Well, I do appreciate his sense of humor...

    Still, lobbyists need to shut up for a while and, to paraphrase Barack Obama, stop buying every seat at the table.

    September 4, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Beth, San Franciso CA

    Way to go Richardson, you slob.

    September 4, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. Bert, Houston TX

    "I take money from them. Nurses, environmentalists, senior citizens." – Bill Richardson, someone who wants to command our nation someday.

    Really, how can someone say that and then have the conscience to run for president? Richardson's "straight-talk" tactic is only revealing what a disgusting, amoral man he really is. I suppose he also took money from the fugitive Chinese militant. No wonder criminals are so fond of Democrats: they know Democrats will never turn down their dirty money. Thanks for continuing to corrupt our already crippled political system, Richardson.

    September 4, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  7. Diana Faust, Los Angeles, CA

    Richardson's candor and honesty about this and other issues is what makes him stand out as the most trustworthy of the top-four Democrats running for President. If he made a political mistake in the past or misspeaks while campaigning, he's not afraid to say so. Ms. Clinton could learn a lot from his honesty; most of us are tired of presidents (like the current one) who won't admit mistakes.

    September 4, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  8. John Thomas, Edina, MN

    Ron Paul doesn't accept lobbyist money–in fact, lobbyists know full-well to walk right on by Ron's office when they're in Washington, because he does not deal with them in the least.

    Richardson and ESPECIALLY Hillary are tainted by lobbyist money. Oh, let's not forget about Barack's involvement in the CFR and their attempt to tear down America's borders and merge Canada and Mexico into the U.S. Get ready for the new currency, the Amero, if Barack, Hillary... actually, get ready to say bye-bye to America if Ron Paul isn't elected.

    September 4, 2007 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  9. Michal Mudd, Albuquerque, NM

    "What am I supposed to [do]?" the New Mexico governor asked. "I have enough trouble raising money to run a campaign."

    Hmmm, and a Green Party candidate in Pennsylvania says the same thing of the money given to him by Republicans (with no intention of catering to them once elected) and he's forced out of the race, practically crucified, and then billed for it??????

    Do as I say, not as I do . . . . . . the Democratic motto?

    September 5, 2007 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  10. Jon, Concord, CA

    As someone once said, "if you can't take their money, eat their dinners, sleep with their women, and still vote against them – you don't belong in Washington."

    September 5, 2007 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  11. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Thank god we have Hillary Clinton runningfor office as she has been "fighting" lobbyists for 15 years and she has NEVER taken a dime of their tainted money.

    She also doesn't take monies or take pictures from felons or shady overseas money laundering schemes either. She is the cleanest, smartest and best candidate ever.

    September 5, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  12. BCNU purple state, usa

    Tom from Dedham,

    I only have one correction for your post. You say about Hillary; "She is the cleanest, smartest and best candidate ever."

    It should read; "She is the cleanest, smartest and bestest candidate ever, with the mostest experience."

    To what faction of her life these superlatives refer is still a mystery.

    September 5, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. David, Gilbert Arizona

    What I find most eye opening about this entire discussion is the misconception of lobbyist monies.

    PAC's or political action committees collect money from individuals, hire lobbyiest, and contribute to like minded candidates. PAC's include groups from defense contractors, commercial finance companies, health and wellfare organizations, and even religious groups. PAC's are subject to campaign finance laws with contribution limits.

    There are also organizations classified under Section 527. These 527 organizations collect money from various interest groups and hire lobbyists. 527 organizations are not subject to campaign finance law and contribution limits and are protected by the First Ammendment freedom of speech based on the Supreme Court finding in the case of Federal Elections Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (2007).

    Candidates collect money from either or both groups, with the possible exception of Ron Paul as his supporters are quick to claim. 527 organizations are also free to make their own commercials and broadcast them nationally in the hopes of swaying voters minds. We saw quite of bit of this during the 2004 election season. Again, this is a right of free speech based on the Supreme Court.

    McCain-Feingold tried very hard to curb campaign finance by creating strict limits. Groups like Wisconsin Right to Life sued. And now we are supposed to blame the candidates?

    I know Obama and Edwards love to throw around the lobbyist issue. They aren't telling you the entire story however.

    September 5, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Pam Eugene OR

    Tom in Debham
    What planet are you living on? Did they leave the gate open and you wandered out to post that?
    Hillary is not the bestest/smartest/cleanest anything unless you are comparing her to a pen of hogs! And only a maybe then. She is sleeping with lobbyists not fighting them. Come in "smell the coffee".
    Obama 08

    September 5, 2007 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  15. Julie Romero-Montoya - Albuquerque, New Mexico

    I'm a registered Democrate but vote every presidential election based on my own independent thinking and analysis. The fact that Oprah is supporting Obama means nothing to me. It will not change or affect my vote. It does however, irrate me that she (Oprah), Obama, or anyone else might presume to think otherwise. Presumptional thinking can sometimes backfire.

    September 6, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |