Dems attack lobbyists on the stump, pocket their cash behind the scenes 

Democrats pocketed much more money than Republicans from lobbyist-bundlers in the first half of this year, Bloomberg reports.

Lobbyists raised at least $1.5 million in the first six months of the year to help elect Democrats to the House, according to a report from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. That was the most of any congressional fundraising committee and almost three times as much as the House Republican campaign committee took in from lobbyists.

While Obama criticizes the influence held by lobbyists in Washington, candidates rely on them to help fund increasingly expensive campaigns. Reports released yesterday show lobbyists also personally contributed to Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Bundlers are volunteer fundraisers who work only for access — or their love of the Party, if you ask them.

Chuck Schumer was the top individual beneficiary of lobbyist fundraising, pulling in $389,940 in January through June, according to his filing. One notable bundler: the Managed Funds Association, which is the trade lobby for hedge funds. Hedge funds benefit from the financial regulation bill, and the MFA retains Schumer’s former banking staffer.

Top bundlers include longtime Democratic operative Ben Barnes, as well as Tony Podesta, a close ally of President Obama.

And then there are the direct contributions from lobbyists, which favor Democrats by a 2 to 1 margin. As I wrote last week:

Enhancing the power of lobbyists is good for Democrats. In the House, they have raised twice as much from lobbyists this election cycle — $5.3 million — as have House Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Senate Democrats’ advantage is even greater: $3.7 million to $1.5 million. The top four recipients of lobbyist cash this election are Senate Democrats, with Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and DISCLOSE sponsor Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., at the top.

Once again, the numbers refute the Democrats’ rhetoric on lobbyists.

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Timothy P. Carney

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