Despite a longstanding promise not to accept political contributions from lobbyists or special interests, one of President Obama’s top fundraisers is a registered airline lobbyist.
Former Florida Rep. Ron Klein, now working as a partner for the law firm Holland & Knight, has raised between $200,000 and $500,000 for the Obama campaign, while lobbying on behalf of Spirit Airlines, according to public records. The news was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, a new conservative website run by Center for American Freedom.
The promise not to accept lobbyist donations is nothing more than a self-imposed ban by the campaign — campaign finance laws allow lobbyists to donate and solicit funds for political campaigns. And the Obama campaign is under no legal obligation to release its list of bundlers.
Still, it’s a big lapse for a campaign and an administration that prides itself on transparency, openness and freedom from special interests. The New York Times also reported earlier this week that the relatives of a Mexican fugitive were top Obama campaign bundlers, forcing the campaign to refund over $200,000 in donations. And the Klein revelation comes one day after another big campaign finance reversal by the Obama administration in deciding to accept help from an outside super PAC, in what PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter called “a full flop” from the president’s earlier position.
(Politico) — The Obama campaign says that Ron Klein, former Democratic congressman from Florida, turned Obama stalwart, turned lobbyist, is out as a bundler after registering as a lobbyist for Spirit Airlines in early January.
“The minute he became a lobbyist, he stopped raising money for the campaign,” a senior Obama for America official tells POLITICO. “He’s no longer associated with the campaign.”
The official said Klein raised all of the cash prior to Dec. 31, 2011, meaning he never raised money as a lobbyist — and also meaning they don’t have to return the estimated $200,000 to $500,000 he raked in.