The Barack Obama campaign wasted no time starting to put their stamp on the Democratic National Committee, as the DNC announced this morning that they will no longer accept contributions from lobbyists. This is a move that is more symbolic than anything else, as the DNC had only raised $3 million from lobbyists since 2007.
To me this move served two purposes. First, the Obama campaign wanted to send the message that there is a new sheriff in town, and they are serious about change. Second, it is a sneak preview of the type of contrast Obama is going to try to paint between himself and McCain. As we all know, McCain has a cash strapped campaign that has lobbyists concentrated at the top of his organization. Obama is going to charge that McCain is a special interest candidate, who despite his claims of change is just another Washington insider.
The Republican National Committee has raised $145 million with $40.5 million in the bank. The DNC had raised $77.6 million, and with $4.4 million in the bank. These numbers will change dramatically as Obama turns his prodigious fundraising machine towards filling the DNC coffers. Financially this move wasn’t a very big deal for the DNC. Obama had already instructed the DNC joint fundraising committee for the nominee not to accept lobbyist contributions.
The reason why neither the candidates nor the parties take much lobbyist money is because they turn down the money from registered political action committees, but accept the funds as individual contributions. The special interest money still gets into the campaigns. All that changes is how it is reported to FEC, but this is a change that probably never would have happened under Hillary Clinton, and it sends a message to McCain that his maverick image is about to come under full on assault.
You can view all of the political party fundraising data right here