ABC News’ Tahman Bradley Reports: Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama has been quite outspoken about the influence of lobbyists in government, but the Illinois senator himself has a registered Illinois lobbyist advising on gay issues.
Michael Bauer, part of Obama’s National LGBT Leadership Council, is registered as a lobbyist with ResPubica Group, a Chicago based firm that serves corporate and noncorporate clients. The Obama campaign lists Bauer as a community activist. Bauer is only registered on the state level, he is not a federal lobbyist.
Obama, who does not accept campaign contributions from federal lobbyists or political action committees, has sharply criticized his leading rival for the ’08 Democratic presidential nomination Sen. Hillary Clinton D-N.Y., for her ties to Washington lobbyists and Wall Street.
"You’ve got to have a president in the White House who is not simply subject to the whims of corporate lobbyists," Obama said during Tuesday night’s AFL-CIO debate in Chicago.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton told ABC News he thinks Obama has done more to curb the influence of special interests than any other candidate in the race. "(Obama) fought for reform in Springfield, he fought for reform in Washington, and as president he has a plan that will be the most aggressive and sweeping in ethics and lobbying reform in the history of the executive branch," said Burton. "That’s why he has this ban on taking money from federal lobbyists and PACs. It’s not a perfect ban, but it’s a symbol of the kind of Administration he’s going to have and his efforts to curb the influence of lobbyists and special interests."
This isn’t the first instance in which Obama’s tough on lobbyists rhetoric may appear to be out of step with his own ties to interest groups. On July 16 the ABC News Blotter reported Obama introduced nine separate bills exempting an Australian-owned chemical corporation from import fees at the request of a representative of the corporation.