Friday, February 15, 2008

Clinton and Obama Trying to Buy Superdelegate Votes?

Via Republicratocracy, a story broken by Capital Eye, an operation run by the left-leaning Center for Responsive Politics.

February 14, 2008 At this summer’s Democratic National Convention, nearly 800 members of Congress, state governors and Democratic Party leaders could be the tiebreakers in the intense contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. If neither candidate can earn the support of at least 2,025 delegates in the primary voting process, the decision of who will represent the Democrats in November’s presidential election will fall not to the will of the people but to these “superdelegates” — the candidates’ friends, colleagues and even financial beneficiaries. Both contenders will be calling in favors.

And while it would be unseemly for the candidates to hand out thousands of dollars to primary voters, or to the delegates pledged to represent the will of those voters, elected officials who are superdelegates have received at least $890,000 from Obama and Clinton in the form of campaign contributions over the last three years, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama, who narrowly leads in the count of pledged, “non-super” delegates, has doled out more than $694,000 to superdelegates from his political action committee, Hope Fund, or campaign committee since 2005. Of the 81 elected officials who had announced as of Feb. 12 that their superdelegate votes would go to the Illinois senator, 34, or 40 percent of this group, have received campaign contributions from him in the 2006 or 2008 election cycles, totaling $228,000. In addition, Obama has been endorsed by 52 superdelegates who haven’t held elected office recently and, therefore, didn’t receive campaign contributions from him.

Clinton does not appear to have been as openhanded. Her PAC, HILLPAC, and campaign committee appear to have distributed $195,500 to superdelegates. Only 12 percent of her elected superdelegates, or 13 of 109 who have said they will back her, have received campaign contributions, totaling about $95,000 since 2005. An additional 128 unelected superdelegates support Clinton, according to a blog tracking superdelegates and their endorsements, 2008 Democratic Convention Watch.

This isn’t quite the same thing -- at least in pure legal terms -- as bribery. It has long been the case that politicians have had PACs, known as “leadership PACs,” whose role is to make contributions to the election organizations of other politicians.

Still . . . where these “other politicians” are people who might vote to give you the Democratic nomination, the conflict of interest is pretty blatant.

Republicratocracy points out one huge irony here.
Let me get this straight. Barack Obama won’t take campaign cash from lobbyists. He has said he wouldn’t hire lobbyists (but he has).

So what’s he doing acting like the lobbyists he vilifies? Why is he spending over three times as much on superdelegate handouts as Clinton, whom he criticizes for her lobbyist ties?

The Obama cult, which has benefitted from uncritical media coverage, is in fact far from the juggernaut that some have supposed. As the general election draws near, people will begin to notice that Obama looks very much like an ordinary politician, and an extremely liberal one at that.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may seem unseemly for one campaign to give money to another (in exchange for a vote at the Convention) but that is how our corrupt/corrupting electoral system works.

Don't think even for a moment that McCain/Huckabee/Paul/etc. wouldn't do this if they thought it would help.

Neither party has a lock on ethics or corruption.

sean s. MU Law 1L / PT

1:19 PM  

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