Monday, August 06, 2007

Hillary's Getting An Unfair -- And Dishonest -- Rap

It's hard to say this but Hillary Clinton is getting an unfair and very dishonest rap from some of her Democratic buddies over the issue of campaign contributions from lobbyists.

Well, maybe that should be amended. Maybe John Edwards and Barack Obama aren't really her buddies right now but they'll all be back in the club next year.

But for now, there is a new snit among the candidates and it surfaced this past weekend here in Chicago. Illinois native Clinton was ganged up on by Edwards and Obama -- and hundreds of left-wing bloggers -- because she has accepted campaign contributions from lobbyists.

Sen. Clinton defended herself by pointing out, "A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans."

Thank you, Sen. Clinton. There are a lot of registered lobbyists in Washington and in Springfield and in dozens of other places who not only represent "real Americans" but who ARE real Americans.

In fact, it was just a few weeks ago that another group that considers themselves real Americans (they have the word "American" in their name) was in Chicago and they are one of the most effective lobby groups in Washington and in Springfield and in dozens of other places, like Madison and Des Moines and Lansing and Jefferson City and Albany and Austin ...

This was a group called American Association of Justice (nee Association of Trial Lawyers of America) and when they met in Chicago, Barack Obama and John Edwards -- especially John Edwards -- and Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates spoke nary a word about the dangers of accepting campaign contributions from this group of well-coiffed -- especially John Edwards -- well groomed convention-goers.

This is how the Chicago Tribune reported on Edwards' comments at the bloggers meeting:

But it was a series of questions about lobbyists and their influence that seemed to trigger the most unscripted language, a discussion that did not come until the final third of the 90-minute forum at McCormick Place.

The topic was launched by former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who challenged those on the stage to join him and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in a pledge not to take money from federal lobbyists.

"The party of the people ought to say from this day forward that we will never take a dime from a Washington lobbyist," he said.
And this is from a report in the National Law Journal on July 25:
Lawyers and law firms dropped another $13 million into the coffers of the 2008 presidential campaigns during the second quarter, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Since the start of the year, the legal industry has contributed $27.5 million to the campaigns, 66 percent of which has gone to three Democratic candidates: Former Sen. John Edwards, of North Carolina; Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY; and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

Contributions made in the second quarter, which ended on June 30, were released on July 15.
Edwards continues to lead in lawyer contributions, with $6.5 million banked so far, but Clinton narrowed a first quarter gap after ending this quarter with a total $6.26 million raised from lawyers. Obama, a graduate of Harvard Law School, raised $5.47 million from the legal community, the third largest amount among the presidential candidates.
Ask any legislator in any state capital or ask any member of congress -- on either side of the aisle -- who the most effective lobbyists are and you don't have to get too deep in the list before the words "trial lawyers" pop up.

They are trained to be effective in court rooms and they are effective in legislative committee rooms. (Some in Illinois aren't really as effective as they think they are, but they do contribute a lot of money).

To suggest they aren't lobbyists and that they aren't representatives of a powerful special interest is pure hypocrisy.

Of course, as the numbers indicate, Clinton isn't too far behind in the lawyer money grab.

But Hillary Clinton (really, Hillary Rodham) was raised about 10 miles from where this is being written. This is probably the only time she'll be defended in this campaign by this fellow-Illinoisan who is a registered lobbyist for "real Americans" and who actually is a "real American."

(Note: Similar comments by Ted Frank at

Full Chicago Tribune Story.

Full National Law Journal Story.

-- Ed Murnane
Illinois Civil Justice League
August 6, 2007


Anonymous,  7:17 PM  

Well said. It was said can't change the rules in the middle of the game. HRC, Edwards, Obama et al need lobby group money in order to stand a chance of election. It's pot, kettle, black. She gave an honest answer. The others are great at spouting the right sounds (what people want to hear) rather than being straight with the public and unfortunately those on the left swallow it right up, hook, line and sinker. I'll take HRC's honesty and forthrightness any day.

Anonymous,  9:47 PM  

How about sticking to something related to state politics next time? I'm sure those "evil" trial lawyers are up to no good at the local or state level.

Anonymous,  4:10 PM  

Irish barrister here, sayin hello...

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