Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been hard on his rivals for taking campaign money from lobbyists and special interest-laden political action committees, but the Illinois freshman's own finance reports aren't free of that form of donation.
Obama's U.S. Senate campaign committee so far has raised $128,000 from lobbyists and $1.3 million from PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Obama's federal PAC, Hopefund, took in $115,000 from 56 PACs during the 2005-2006 election cycle. During that period, Hopefund raised $4.4 million from PACs in all. Obama then distributed that money to other influential action groups to build support for his presidential run, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.
Before entering the U.S. Senate, Obama spent eight years in the Illinois Senate, where nearly two-thirds of the money he raised came from PACs, corporate contributions and unions, The Globe reported. The contributions amounted to $296,000 of a total $461,000 received.
In his fundraising, Obama has tapped financial services firms, real estate developers, health care providers, oil companies and many other corporate interests, according to records inspected.
"The people in this stadium need to know who we're going to fight for," Obama said Tuesday night at Chicago's Soldier Field. "The reason that I'm running for president is because of you, not because of folks who are writing big checks, and that's a clear message that has to be sent, I think, by every candidate."
Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki told the paper that before entering the presidential race but since he arrived in Washington, Obama changed his views on fundraising.
"He's leading by example and taking steps that he feels need to be taken on the national stage to clean up the undue influence of Washington lobbyists on the policies and priorities of Washington," Psaki said. "His leadership on this issue is an evolving process."
The also paper reports that although Obama has returned thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from registered federal lobbyists, his campaign has maintained ties with lobbyists and lobbying firms to help raise some of the $58.9 million he collected through the first six months of 2007.