The national Democratic Party fell in behind Barack Obama today on not taking money from Washington lobbyists -- a pledge crucial to the presumptive presidential nominee's promise of changing the way Washington works and bringing a new politics.
"Our presumptive nominee has pledged not to take donations from Washington lobbyists and from today going forward the DNC makes that pledge as well," Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said in a statement. "The American people's priorities will set the agenda in an Obama Administration, not the special interests."
Obama is also using his pledge to draw distinctions with Republican rival John McCain, who has had problems with lobbyists in the upper reaches of his campaign and instituted a conflict of interest policy.
“I’ve sent a strong signal in this campaign by refusing the contributions of registered federal lobbyists and PACs,” Obama said in a statement. “And today, I’m announcing that going forward, the Democratic National Committee will uphold the same standard and won’t take another dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. They do not fund my campaign. They will not fund our party. And they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I’m President of the United States.”
UPDATE: McCain's campaign, however, argues that Obama is violating his own pledge because of the fund-raising activities of MoveOn.org, an antiwar group that is supporting him through TV ads and other efforts.
McCain's camp cites a fund-raising solicitation that seeks donations both to Obama's campaign and MoveOn.org's political action committee "so Obama knows that progressives have his back as he pushes to unify the country around a progressive agenda -- an agenda we'll push hard to enact when he's in the White House.”
"Obama is breaking his pledge against PAC money for a special interest group seeking leverage on him as president. Some would call that 'HyPACrisy,' " McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said in a statement today.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.