Axelrod takes on lobbyist charge while jabbing Republicans
October 30th, 2011
10:33 AM ET
11 years ago

Axelrod takes on lobbyist charge while jabbing Republicans

(CNN) – President Barack Obama's senior campaign strategist pushed back Sunday on criticism that the current administration has reneged on a campaign promise not to accept donations from federal lobbyists.

David Axelrod told CNN's "State of the Union" that Obama does not accept contributions from federal lobbyists, and he labeled the current White House as the "most transparent" in history.

"We promised not to take contributions from federal lobbyists and we don't," Axelrod said. "The point here is do lobbyists leverage the kind of influence in this administration that they have in past administrations? There isn't a person in Washington who could argue the answer to that is 'yes.'"

A recent report in the New York Times found the president has relied on supporters, or "bundlers" – individuals who contribute money to Obama while petitioning others to do the same – to raise millions of dollars for his re-election effort.

Despite having ties to the lobbying industry, these "bundlers" are not registered as lobbyists with the Senate, allowing Obama to keep his campaign pledge while raising millions from influential donors.

But Axelrod said the openness of the current administration, which he said includes disclosing everyone who raises funds for him, is the reason the New York Times could write the piece.

When asked by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley if any of the "bundlers" are lobbyists by definition, even if they are not officially registered, Axelrod said he did not know and would "have to run through the list of people who are there."

Axelrod, who left the White House earlier this year to focus on the 2012 election, acknowledged the system is not perfect. At the same time, he cited the transparency steps taken by the president to show a contrast with the current Republican presidential candidates, who have yet to place restrictions on money from lobbyists.

"There are people who are promising to spend you know hundreds of millions of dollars against us who don't have to disclose anything," Axelrod said, referencing GOP fundraising efforts. "So we have to be prepared to ward that off."

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Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: 2012 • David Axelrod • President Obama • Republicans • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Keith in Austin

    It is absolutely amazing that anyone would actually believe Axelrod's denials of Lobbyist influence within the Bozo Administration! Obama took more campaign contributions from Wall St. than any Presidential candidate in History. Flocks of Lobbyist chickens came home to roost shortly thereafter! As far as transparency goes, can you see through mud??? Simply amazing!

    October 30, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. Mike in SA

    Yes, yes transparency steps like meeting people at coffee shops so their names don't appear on White House registers. We know David. The problem is David that it now only makes you all less transparent, it makes you all liars too.

    October 30, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. Annie, Atlanta

    Does the media, the Republicans, even the Democrats think that we Americans are unable to think for ourselves? That we can't see the difference between taking money, which is sadly needed to run these campaigns (we need reform now!), and selling out the American people in order to protect the people who give money to these campaigns? The President has tried to get legislation passed, and in some cases succeeded, that help us out on Main Street. Take a look at the legislation the Republicans introduce, and the bills that they vote yes on. Pay attention folks. We're being herded this way and that depending on the personal opinions of the "news" people we watch, when said "newspeople" are only there to make money for the corporations for which they work. Educate yourselves.

    October 30, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I wonder if Candy would ask Mittsy, Herb, and Ponzi the same question, and get the same answer. Lobbyists have bought and paid for the republican party.

    October 30, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Everyone know that the republican culture of corruption is alive in Washington.

    October 30, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I am not a lobbyist, but I donated to President Obama's reelection. Of course, I am one who doesn't want to end social security, VA benefits, and regulations that keep us safe.

    October 30, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. Magic

    Well, Republicans. our President has/is making donations to his campaign transparent. Will you disclose the source of YOUR contributions? That's the REAL question.

    October 30, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. Emilio

    Obama's White House the "most transparent" in history? Oh, really? The man who warned us about the undue influence of the warmongering "military-industrial complex" on our nation, Eisenhower, would put this flim-flam non-leader of a president to shame. Axelrod, like the other criminal henchmen involved in this continuation of the fascist Bush malarkey of a presidency, must think that we're all brain damaged and crippled by fear, and we'll accept any guff that emanates from their lying orifices. But I’m happy to see the American spirit rising again in the nation as we, the people, stop listening to the crap the misleaders spew incessantly and demonstrate to them that we, the people, are what makes this nation, not the giant multi-national corporations they’re using to feather their nest, and we, the people, will ultimately restore our democracy.

    October 30, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. Liz

    Perhaps the most transparent White House in history is also the most hypocritical. More Wall Street donations than anyone else...ever to this White House. Come on David, you guys have to be more sincere, and using the excuse that others will get these donations is a weak position. It sounds like you are whining. And, does the campaign chair really expect CNN, or the voters to believe that he does not know who the bundlers are, and that they really aren't lobbyist?

    That's a good one!

    October 30, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. FIELD1stSGT

    This imbecile needs to not discuss any organization with patriotism. He is a traitor and deals in trash.

    October 30, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  11. diridi

    I am telling this nation, to pass one, Anti-Lobby Law, second, Term-Limits on Congress idiots, and Senate thugs...of this great nation. I do not have any kind of respect for these idiots. They want to retain position for ever. Nasty idiots. Just pass these. If you care for this nation. I am an educated telling...true., true, true...true...God bless.....Revolt for these two...Americans, god bless...

    October 30, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Four and The Door

    David Axelrod ... labeled the current White House as the "most transparent" in history.
    As if we all suddenly "forgot" the ObamaCare debacle. This was closed-door government at it's worst. Republicans were locked out of negotiations. Special interests ( unions ) walked away with tens of billions of dollars in favors. Democrats who couldn't get on board with such a poorly crafted program were brought into line with obcene favors.
    The American taxpayer was pummeled. The two most important features of the program were to get it done quickly and to provide access at the expense of cost, the economy and the quality of care.

    October 30, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |