Via Ani at No Quarter, President Obama gave an interview to John Harwood at CNBC this week. Harwood began the interview by asking the following question:
In the 2008 campaign, you got a lot of money, about a million dollars from employees of Goldman Sachs. Your former White House Counsel, Greg Craig (PH) is apparently going to represent Goldman Sachs. In light of this case, do either of those things embarrass you?
Harwood may not be aware that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder don’t experience secondary emotions like embarrassment. But I digress. Here is the President’s response:
No. First of all, I got a lot of money from a lot of people. And the vast majority of the money I got was from small donors all across the country.
Excuse me? Ani directs us to Politifact, where President Obama’s statement is summarily debunked.
In the general election, Obama got about 34 percent of his individual donations from small donors, people who gave $200 or less, according to a report from the Campaign Finance Institute. Another 23 percent of donations came from people who gave between $201 and $999, and another 42 percent from people who gave $1,000 or more.
His numbers for the primary were similar. He got about 30 percent of his money from donors who gave $200 or less. Another 28 percent of donations came from people who gave between $201 and $999, and 43 percent from people who gave $1,000 or more.
Even if you raise the bar for “small donors” to $1,000, which is ridiculous, they still don’t add up to a majority of those who gave to Obama’s campaign.
Obama supporters like to counter that Obama raised more money from small donors than any previous candidate for president, which is true. But Obama still needed large donors to fund his campaign. Obama implies that he won the presidency without much money from large donors, and the evidence does not support that. In fact, even if we set the bar for small donors higher — if we stipulated that everyone who gave less than $1,000 was a small donor — that still means 43 percent gave more.
Here is the Center for Responsive Politics list of Obama’s top donors in the 2008 election cycle. Goldman Sachs donated $994,795 to candidate Obama. Here is a list of Goldman Sachs employees and the amounts they gave to the Obama campaign. The list goes on for multiple pages.
And, get this, Goldman Sachs comes in 6th on the Open Secrets “heavy hitters” list–“the 100 biggest givers in federal-level politics since 1989.” No wonder Goldman Sachs has such a powerful influence on our federal government.
Furthermore, the financial, insurance, and real estate industries overall donated $39,663,073 to Barack Obama’s campaign. Obama also had hundreds of bundlers who collected between $50,000 and $200,000 each for his campaign. A number of those bundlers were lobbyists, despite Obama’s claims to the contrary. The bundlers list also goes on for multiple pages.
This two-year-old article from the Washington Post analyzes Obama’s “grass roots” campaign support during the primaries. The article is dated April 11, 2008.
Sen. Barack Obama credits his presidential campaign with creating a “parallel public financing system” built on a wave of modest donations from homemakers and high school teachers. Small givers, he said at a fundraiser this week, “will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and the powerful.”
But those with wealth and power also have played a critical role in creating Obama’s record-breaking fundraising machine, and their generosity has earned them a prominent voice in shaping his campaign. Seventy-nine “bundlers,” five of them billionaires, have tapped their personal networks to raise at least $200,000 each. They have helped the campaign recruit more than 27,000 donors to write checks for $2,300, the maximum allowed. Donors who have given more than $200 account for about half of Obama’s total haul, which stands at nearly $240 million.
Hmmm… I notice Obama didn’t promise his small donors access and influence over the policies of his administration, if elected.
Let’s look at Obama statement to John Harwood again:
the vast majority of the money I got was from small donors all across the country.
No, no the majority of your donations came from the rich and powerful, Mr. President. And it shows in your policies. And I’m getting sick and tired of you lying about it. Just sayin’….
Filed under: Barack Obama, broken promises | Tagged: Barack Obama, bundlers, campaign donations, CNBC, Goldman Sachs, John Harwood, lobbyists, Narcissistic Personality Disorder | 50 Comments »