The same hand that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is using to swat lobbyists was once open wide for their campaign cash, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission — and a top Democrat who once raised cash for her.
On Monday, Warren posted on Medium what she billed as a “plan to end Washington corruption” that would end “lobbying as we know it.”
As part of her plan to rein in lobbyists, Warren called for “preventing them from donating to or fundraising for political candidates.”
“Allowing individuals who are paid to influence government officials on policy to also give gifts or funnel money to the political campaigns of those same officials sounds like legalized bribery.”
My plan not only bans lobbyists from making political contributions, but it also bans them from bundling donations or hosting fundraisers for political candidates.”
But during her 2012 and 2018 Senate campaigns, Warren herself accepted lobbyist money. CNBC reported that in those years, she accepted about $95,000 from registered lobbyists.
The fact that those donations were a small amount of her overall fundraising relegates them to the outer limits of relevance, according to her campaign.
“Instead of cynically attacking a handful of old donations dwarfed by millions of grassroots contributions in order to deflect from their own practices, every candidate for president should step up, reject federal lobbyist contributions, and support Elizabeth’s comprehensive anti-corruption platform, which would end it permanently,” Saloni Sharma, Warren’s deputy press secretary, said, according to the Washington Examiner.
The Warren plan grated on the ears of Robert Crowe, who works for lobbying firm Nelson Mullins and has donated to Warren in the past.
“I’m not happy with the overall plan,” he said. “I think the whole thing is silly.”
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a fellow Democrat, used the word “hypocrite” to describe Warren in a recent Op-Ed in The Washington Post in which he touched upon the Massachusetts senator’s newfound distaste for lobbyists.
Rendell cited a New York Times report that revealed that more than $10 million raised by Warren when she ran for Senate had been shunted into her White House campaign and that of that, about $6 million came from donations of $1,000 or more.
“The senator appears to be trying to have it both ways — get the political upside from eschewing donations from higher-level donors and running a grass-roots campaign, while at the same time using money obtained from those donors in 2018,” Rendell wrote.