Saturday, December 01, 2007

Barack Obama Had Complex Relationship With Lobbyists in Illinois Legislature

This article from tells the story about Sen. Obama's history with lobbyists as far as campaign donations and even social activities when he was in the Illinois State Senate.
About 40 percent of the money he raised as a state senator came from PACs, corporations and unions, including organizations with a financial stake in legislation he was sponsoring.

For instance, Obama, who often sponsored legislation on health care and prescription drugs, took $5,650 from health-related groups, $8,900 from insurance groups and $3,000 from a lobbyist representing drug companies.

Meanwhile, PACs contributed 3.2 percent of the $490,285 he raised for an unsuccessful congressional bid in 2000, and 8 percent of the $15 million he raised for his U.S. Senate race in 2004.

But while in the state legislature, Obama was a relatively small fish when it came to Illinois political money.

He usually got donations of a few hundred dollars or maybe $1,000 in a state where interest groups routinely give key officials tens of thousands of dollars at a time.

Disclosure reports show he rarely accepted gifts or meals from lobbyists, even though there was no limit on such freebies until Obama helped pass a law establishing one. For him, a big gift was $50 worth of tickets to a Rembrandt exhibit from the Art Institute of Chicago.

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