Democratic Party To No Longer Take Lobbyist Money, Adopting Obama's Strategy

With Barack Obama as their future nominee, the Democratic National Committee is adopting his policy of no longer accepting donations from federal lobbyists or political action committees.

The change will make the party and the candidate have a consistent position. Obama often says banning the donations is one way to help keep him free of the influence of Washington insiders.

An Obama spokesman announced the change Thursday as the candidate prepared to fly from New York, where he had been raising money, to campaign in Virginia.

Obama himself planned to discuss the change at a town hall meeting in Bristol, Virginia.

Obama strategist Paul Tewes, who ran the Illinois senator's successful Iowa campaign, is taking over the DNC and was at party headquarters Thursday meeting the staff.

The new policy will eliminate one source of contributions to the DNC, which has significantly trailed its Republican counterpart in fundraising. So far this election cycle, the DNC has raised $77.6 million and had $4.4 million cash on had at the end of April. The RNC, however, had raised nearly twice as much and had $40.6 in the bank.

Both parties rely on lobbyists for money, but their biggest sources of money tend to be donors in the securities and investment industries or in real estate. The DNC raised more than $3 million so far this election cycle from lawyers and lobbyists, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. That was the narrowest category analyzed, meaning much of that money did not come from federally registered lobbyists.

The Republican National Committee raised $1.1 million this election cycle from lawyers and lobbyists, according to the center.

While the DNC has been the least successful fundraising operation in the Democratic Party, its takeover by the Obama camp means it will likely see a dramatic jump in fundraising. Obama has been the leader in the presidential money race, raising a record $264 million.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean set up a joint fundraising committee earlier to amass money for the eventual nominee. Acceding to Obama's wishes, that committee already was not accepting money from federal lobbyists.

Obama's ban on lobbyists money is not ironclad. He does accept money from lobbyists who do not do business with the federal government and he also accepts money from spouses and family members of lobbyists.