Obama: Hopefund is not a 'slush fund': The Swamp
The Swamp
Posted December 2, 2007 12:36 PM
The Swamp

by John McCormick

DES MOINES – Sen. Barack Obama this morning defended the use of money from his political action committee to back political candidates who happen to have endorsed his presidential bid.

"Everything we have done is in exact accordance of the law," Obama said at a news conference. "And unless they can show that it hasn't been, I'd suggest they focus on trying to get their supporters to the caucus in Iowa."

The Illinois Democrat was responding to criticism this morning from the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.

Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," Clinton media guru Howard Wolfson called Obama's Hopefund a "slush fund" that should be closed now that he is a candidate for president.

Clinton's campaign said she made dormant her political action committee, HillPac, when she entered the presidential race in January.

Obama said Hopefund is no longer raising money, but that because of the rapid nature of his decision to run for president he was left with money in the fund to share with other Democrats.

"I have not been planning to run for president for however number of years some of the other candidates have been planning for. So, by the time we announced that I was running, there was still money left over, which we used to contribute to candidates all across the country to help build a Democratic majority. That was the original purpose of it. That is the purpose of all these leadership funds. It's the same purpose that Sen. Clinton's leadership fund was set up….We just simply didn't have the ability to get all that money out. And I would point out, we made contributions to many people who are endorsing Sen. Clinton, instead of me. I think what people need to focus on is that all these accusations that are starting to come out, seem to correspond to shifts in political fortune."

After initially denying any coordination between Hopefund and Obama's presidential bid, the Washington Post reported last week that Obama's campaign encouraged the PAC to give money to candidates in early voting states.

On Face the Nation this morning, Wolfson said: "“There's a lot that voters don't know about Barack Obama. And one thing they don't know – we found out this week – is that he has been using and operating a so-called leadership PAC, in apparent contravention of campaign finance laws, taking in money from lobbyists despite the fact he said he doesn't take money from lobbyists, taking in money from lobbyists and giving money out to candidates in New Hampshire and Iowa to support his presidential campaign.''

The Clinton campaign also said Obama has given 68 percent of its contributions to those in states scheduled to hold nominating contests on Feb. 5 or earlier.

"On the campaign trail, Obama tells voters he rejects money from federal lobbyists and corporate political action committees," Clinton's campaign said in a statement. "But the Hopefund money he is distributing in early states includes over $120,000 from federal PACs and over $30,000 from registered federal lobbyist including Lockheed Martin, Wal-Mart and Citibank."

Wolfson, appearing on the CBS mornng show with David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, challenged Obama to "shut down'' the so-called slush fund. Axelrod said it is effectively shut down, because the money has been spent.

Obama's campaign also this morning announced the endorsement of Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie.

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Interesting indeed that Senator Clinton has chosen now to bring out all these "revelations," even tho he's donating to everyone; why doesn't she mention that he's donating to her endorsers as well? It makes sense to me as an Iowan, with the political spotlight and everyone's attention, to support candidates in early states now. Once the caucus is over here, no one here will be thinking politics for a good while. That would be a good time to give money to states where the money would do more good. Focus on getting people to the caucuses.

Notice how Mr. "New tone in politics' in his response uses the old political trick of trying to change the subject?

Nobody is saying your Hopefund slush fund is illegal, senator. What they ARE saying is that your use of the Hopefund and the PAC/lobbyist money contributed to the Hopefund brands you a hypocrite to your own pledge that you won't accept PAC/lobbyist money for your presidential campaign.

Another day, another Obama lie. And unlike the more practiced liar (the senator from NY), Obama isn't particularly good at lying.

The important thing to remember is that this PAC was set up BEFORE he announced he would run for President...and he HAS NOT used the money for his campaign, instead sharing it with other democrats. Hillary's campaign is trying to make this an issue and they will fail. Did they so quickly forget Mr. Hsu???

Hillary's camp is so smarmy.

They accuse Obama of doing something wrong when they did the exact thing- giving $ to the early state's politicians, just last year.

Their hypocrisy is gross and starting to stink of desperation.

This is rich, Clinton calling someone else dishonest with money. I'm surprised that a lightning bolt hasn't hit her yet.

One of the democrats that Obama's hope fund has paid money to is none other than Hillary Clinton, for her senate bid. Now she cries foul?

It seems like act of desperation from the Clinton campaign. Obama is now doing well in Iowa and they start throwing mud, hopping that something will stick and luckily for Obama voters trust him more than the Clinton's.

Everything we have done is in exact accordance of the law," Obama said.

And so his suportrers say... again and again and again... about everything he does that's sleazy, that's not quite ethical, that's sure to raise the eyebrows of any thinking voter.

His creative real estate dealing with Resco is legal, Swamp regulars have told us repeatedly. Nevertheless it doesn't pass the smell test.

His recruiting out of state college students to flood the Iowa caucus is legal... but it doesn't pass the smell test.

And the same may be said for his shutting the press out of his fundraising sellebrations.

And likewise, his eschewing negativity and bumpersticker politics out of one side of his mouth while spewing them out of the other.

If he smells like garbage he is garbage. So how, exactly, is a vote for Obama a vote for change?

Insert Bruce rant here...

Forget it Hillary. Typical Obama hypocrisy for which he is held unaccountable yet again. What a joke.

Stay positive.

Hillary '08!!!

Clinton - the kettle is calling the pot black.

She paid off Vilsack for $400,000 and Obama gives 1,000 or $2000 to other DEMOCRATS and she complains. He's helping democrats beat republicans and she's complaining. What kind of screwed up is she?

Another day, another Obama lie. And unlike the more practiced liar (the senator from NY), Obama isn't particularly good at lying.

Posted by: Bruce | December 2, 2007 1:13 PM

Bruce the broken record!!!

ABC Anybody but Clinton.
She is not what Iowa Democrats want as the leader of our party or the leader of the free world.

Hillary is seen as an opportunist, slimey, elitist and Tammany Hall at it's worst.

Caught 3 times with questions by people her own organization sent to make her look good.
Bought off all the national Sunday talk shows and with scripted questions and answers..... "Thank God for Chris Wallace"
And then the Brig General at the Republican U Tube Debate.
Hillary can NOT be trusted to not Cheat. How can she be trusted in the White House. ABC...ABC...

Hillary camp has become curiously testy of late with her poll numbers diving, and has set her hound patrol loose to stick their nose into other people's business instead of counting their own faux pax's with outright criminal and other shady foreign contributers. Her dog won't hunt when it comes to scandal - she just looks whiny....again.

Hillary Clinton and her campaign are now getting DESPERATE! Hey, Hillary what happened to no mud sligging? We thought so.

Hillary Clinton is only sinking herself further and further into the mud! Oink! Oink!

RNC Bruce is just scared because the Republican candidates suck so bad this time around.

This is Bruce's first ever post on the Swamp and this literally is the first entry to The Swamp by Frank James.

"In the interests of full disclosure, will the Tribune contributors to "the Swamp" (Frank James, Mark Silva et al.) reveal their political biases by disclosing who they voted for in 2000 and 2004 (and other years) for president? How can the readers fully or accurately assess their postings, the "take" they have on current events, or even what they consider "newsworthy", without this information?

Posted by: Bruce | January 5, 2006 9:55 AM"


At first I was really worried that the Obama folks would be unable to deal with the Clinton campaign's ruthlessness and attack machine when Obama started to surge. Quite simply, I expect Wolfon, Carville and the Clinton team to attempt to destroy Obama (esp if he wins Iowa, which I predict he will). But after seeing Wolfson on Face the Nation and Hillary these past few days, its been a pleasant surprise. They are literally having a historic "meltdown" before our very eyes. Their strategy of "inevitability" was risky and ill-advised - now that voters know she can be beaten, the cat's out of the bag. She can't go up. They wanted to keep him in the starting gate - they were mortified about the prospects of Obama getting out of the gate. He's only taken about two gallops and already Clinton's camp is in desperation mode. One other note - as a DC resident it is amazing watching this town's "political insider" world being rocked. All of them, from NBC to Stephanopoulos to the Post to the Times - NO ONE thought Obama had a chance. The only one who had it right was Eugene Robinson and Newsweek's Richard Wolffe. This is gonna be fun to watch! And ps - I don't work for the Obama campaign.

"The Clinton campaign . . .said Obama has given 68% of its contributions to those in states scheduled to hold nominating contests on Feb. 5 or earlier."

I believe that 23 states have their nominating contests scheduled on Feb. 5 or earlier. So wherever Obama donated money he had almost a 50/50 chance of it being "an early state."

Mr. Wolfson's protestations ring rather hollow to me. Sounds like another attempt by the Clinton campaign to trick the public into thinking there's a serious story here.

It would be helpful if Chris Dodd and Hillary Clinton would familiarize themselves with Iowa voting law before criticing the Obama campaign:


Iowa Resident Attending College IN Iowa

If you are an Iowa resident attending college at an Iowa school (i.e. University of Iowa-Johnson County) that is in a different county than your hometown (Des Moines-Polk County), you may register to vote in:

your hometown or
your college town
(You cannot register to vote in both locations)
There is no waiting period for you to be able to vote in your college town; however you must be registered 11 days before most elections.


Iowa Resident Attending College OUTSIDE Iowa

If you are an Iowa resident (i.e. Council Bluffs) attending college in another state (i.e. University of Nebraska), you may register to vote in:

your Iowa hometown or
your college town
(You cannot register to vote in both locations)


Non-Iowa Resident Attending College IN Iowa
If you are from another state (i.e. Illinois) and are attending college in Iowa (i.e. Iowa State University), you may register to vote in:

your Iowa college town or
your home state (hometown) and vote absentee

(You cannot register to vote in both locations)

Let'see: Nearly ALL of the Queen B's fundraising is scandalous, from illegal Hollywood fundraising parties to Mr. Hsu to minimum wage earners donating thousands of dollars to her campaign.

Then, we have Barack, a proud member of the ALL CORRUPT Illinois Democratic machine, partly run by indicted felon Tony Rezko.

Crook and Crook, Hillary and Obama.

This article fails to mention that 50% of the states in the US will have voted by Feb 5. So why is it such a big deal that 68% of his money went to those states?!?! Moreover, CA and NY are included in that nummber, and they have by far the highest number of democratic delegates, so it makes sense to spend more there. This is typical Clinton-style politics. LAME

The Clinton campaign indevertly denied that they had any damaging information on Obama, only to turn around and team up with the Washington Post to depict Obama as a Fraud. Mrs. Clinton, If Obama has done anything that is unethical, illegal or otherwise you or the other candidates will not do, please refer him to the legal authorities or the ethics committee.

The fact is that Obama is more transparent and honest than Clinton. If Clinton and her cohorts think otherwise, I challenge them to total disclosure.

I pray God saves America from corrupt politicians.

Obama is a fighter. All of a sudden he can take people at their own game. Remember few months ago, people were saying he is too soft, he is too this and that.
Obama changed strategy by simply painting a pictue of himself which is completely different from Hillary.
Clinton has a lot of heat, 'problems', and Obama is building up momentum and building it fast.
Clinton is Bush with all the egos.
Look at America, it is a mess, even Russia isn't scared. You know why, China and some of the other superpowers are alienating themselves from America, Bush!!!
Russia scaring America that's a first. It's all about morals, America cannot keep saying don't do this and then do worse.
America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is your choice...and another Bush, war war and war or you want your country to be great in every sense.
Choose who will make America great not continue the downward spiral of America in every sense, economy, education, international relation etc etc etc...

What bothers me the most about the scurrilous allegation about Sen. Obama's leadership fund (Hopefund) by this Howard Wolfson character and the rest of the Hillary Clinton cabal, is that they have the temerity to make such scurrilous allegation.

Hillary Clinton is out of a substantive message on why the voters should vote for her. That is why, her campaign is resorting to this nonsense.

For those so-called women (feminists) who allegedly, are supporting Hillary Clinton: how do you reconcile your avowed principle in the empowerment and affirmation of the critical role of women in every civilized culture, with Hillary Clinton's record of spear-heading campaign to belittle and discredit those poor women, who were allegedly, sexually harassed by Bill Clinton? Just think about that for a moment, and ask yourself again: what aspects of that Hillary Clinton's record do you associate yourselves with?

Ignatius Anyanwu

This is a political Kamikaze Mission! Person who lives in glass house, preparing to throw stones...

After reading some comments, I have to chime in here. Obama has said time and again that he raised money from lobbyists prior to his presidential campaign. He has never hidden from this, and there are numerous quotes from him stating this. He chose to avoid lobbyist money for his presidential campaign because he felt after two years in Washington that lobbyists were destroying the system. The Hopefund stopped raising money before Obama announced for president, and the fund donated to none other than Clinton herself.

Anyone criticizing Obama on the college students caucusing for him need to grow up. If college was in session, no one would think twice about college students caucusing who are from out of state but who attend an Iowa college. It amazes me that we complain about the apathy of young people in this country and yet now that they have found a candidate and are doing legally caucusing for candidate in a state that they RESIDE in, all of a sudden Obama is trying to ruin the Iowa caucuses.

As for Rezko, we do not choose our supporters in life and sometimes they let us down. As someone who has lived in Chicago and knows associates of Obama and Rezko, just about any Dem politician in Chicago knew and was connected to Rezko. This does not prove any impropriety nor has any illegal allegation ever even been met. Why can't we focus on the issues of leading our country forward instead of tearing down the man who has the best chance of beating Hillary? I think that question answers itself. Hillary will stop at nothing to attain the power that she so desperately craves.

Clinton's desperate attempts to smear Obama because she is failing are disgusting. To check the facts go to:

You obama supporters can pretend that it is no big deal but you know that using that money to buy support from Dems in IA,NH, and SC is not right and is just more Cook County politcs as usual. SO it is just a coincidence that 70% of the Hopefund money went to Dem in IA, NH, and SC. How abuot the fact that he gave every singel Democaratic COnressman in NH and IA $5000 each after he announced he was running for president. I understand you guys want to back your guy and will do so no matter what happens but you know 100% that what he is doing is trying to BUY support from these candidates and it has been proven by teh WAsh Post and Lynn Sweet. Notice how all the other candidates are not doing it. You Obmaites are acting like Hypocrites just like the fraud of a candidate that you support. It is really pathetic that you dont just admit that he doing something highly unethical if not illegal. Stop the spin and try not to look at it so blindly because if this were a GOp'er doing it you would be having a heart attack about it.

I don't have a problem with Obama giving monies raised already to other democratic candidates, after all, Howard Dean has been attempting to funnel monies intended to elect more dems to congress to his personal slush fund.

I do have a problem with Obama's corporate donors, for the same reason I have a problem with Clinton's corporate donors. The problems we have been facing have been because of democrats as well as republicans selling out to the corporate elite.

Just look at Dick Durbin, the senior senator from Illinois. He refuses to do anything substantive about the toxic imports from China. You call his office and the staffer says that we're powerless to do anything about it.

Here's a clue, the constitution provides them power to deal with those problems. How about they start actually honoring their oaths of office and representing the interests of American citizens for a change, instead of corporate and foreign interests? Then again, ignoring our interests is what Obama and Clinton are paid to do, aren't they?

I'm voting for the only candidate who will take back our country from the corporate and foreign interests, John Edwards. He doesn't take PAC money, and he's the only one who will represent our interests. Voting for Clinton or Obama would bring about more of the same we get under George W. Bush.

Micah you cant be seriuos. Obama has more than just mere ties to Rezko and he is not just anohter supporter like you say. Obama wrote letters on behalf of Rezko in order for him to get state funding. Now double that with him paying people in NH, IA, and SC for their support while using his PAC to help his campaign which is highly unethical if not illegal. Add to that the fact that he is trying to influence Iowa cuacuses with IL voters and you have the typical Cook COunty Pol. This guy is as corrupt as they come, and I dont want him bringing sleaze Cook County politics to Wash which he is already bringing to the Iowa/NH/SC primaries. He is a fraud and you knnow it.

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