October 1st, 2008
03:47 PM ET
14 years ago

Fact Check: Did Obama help take power from lobbyists?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/01/art.obamarenov1001.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Obama spoke in Reno, Nevada Tuesday."]
The Statement: Sen. Barack Obama, speaking at campaign event on September 30 in Reno, Nevada, said he would make health care and financial reforms. "And I will take power away from the corporate lobbyists who think they can stand in the way of these reforms" he said. "I've done it in Illinois, I've done it in Washington and I will do it again as president."

Get the facts!

The Facts: Obama last year voted for the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 in the U.S. Senate. The legislation increases waiting periods for ex-lawmakers to become lobbyists, requires donation disclosures, prohibits lawmakers from receiving gifts from lobbyists, and places limits or bans on air travel provided by lobbyists. The bill first passed in the Senate 96 to 2 on January 18, 2007. It passed in the House 411 to 8 on July 31, and a final version passed in the Senate by an 83 to 14 vote on August 2. President Bush signed it into law on September 14, 2007.

Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, told CNN that Obama pushed hard for this and other ethics-reform legislation. Obama's Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, initially voted for the measure, but opposed what he regarded as a weakened final product. An NPR report said he complained about "gutted" earmark reform provisions.

As a state senator, Obama was key in crafting and drafting the Illinois Gift Ban, passed overwhelmingly and signed into law in 1998, said Cynthia Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. The law includes stiff disclosure rules, permits only nominal gifts from lobbyists and bans the personal use of campaign contributions, she said.

The Verdict: True. Obama has supported and helped shape legislation cracking down on all lobbyists.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Fact Check
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