The Obama Hustle

The Rediscovered Truth About Barack H Obama

Posts Tagged ‘New York Times

Administration faces question: Are donors paying for Obama access?

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By Rachel Rose Hartman, Yahoo News

Logo of the United States White House, especia...

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday answered growing questions about whether big donors to President Barack Obama’s nonprofit Organizing for America (OFA) are being promised access to the president.

His answer? Well, kind of.

While Carney had responded “no” when Fox News’ Ed Henry asked if a recent report “suggests that access to the president is being sold,” his explanation sidestepped the issue. He offered instead a string of policy proposals, definitions and a recitation of campaign finance rules.

On Friday, New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore wrote of an alleged pay-for-access arrangement through OFA: “Giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House.”

On Monday, Carney emphasized that the group, which was born out of the president’s campaign committee, is an “independent organization”; that administration officials follow rules regarding separation between outside groups and the administration; and that the president supports campaign finance transparency.

When pressed again to explain the reports, Carney referred questions to OFA.

 

Obama May Have Supplied Arms Used in Benghazi Attack

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Obama May Have Supplied Arms Used in Benghazi Attack

Posted by   By GeorgeM at  6 December, at 19 : 35 PM

Obama May Have Supplied Arms Used in Benghazi Attack

 

 

by Kris Zane

Why would the Obama administration spend two weeks parroting a ridiculous story about a “protest turned violent” because of an anti-Muslim YouTube video being the cause of the attack on the Benghazi consulate?

Why would they then spend a month blaming the CIA for bad intel?

Why would they then comb through a former four-star general’s, then CIA-chief Petraeus’ email to “uncover” an adulterous affair that apparently everyone—including Obama—already knew about?

Fox News has been reporting that Obama, through Christopher Stevens, had been shipping Libyan arms to the Syrian rebels, some of them linked to al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Was this the reason Obama has been turning his administration into a pretzel trying to explain why he blamed a YouTube video for the murder of four Americans?

Was this the reason he refused to send in air or ground support to the dozens of Americans under fire, where Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods begged for help for upwards of seven hours and were eventually slaughtered?

Or was it something more?

What if it was the Fast and Furious debacle all over again, but this time in the Middle East and North Africa?

What if Barack Hussein Obama supplied the weapons to the al-Qaeda-linked group Ansar al-Sharia that murdered the Americans in Benghazi?

And if he would have sent in troops to help the Americans under attack at the Benghazi consulate and CIA safe house, it would have been discovered that the weapons had been supplied by the United States.

According to a New York Times article published yesterday that admits Obama-sanctioned weapons got into the hands of jihadists—and the article appears to be chocked full of leaked information from the White House in order to control the explosion of some new revelation—this in fact may be the case.

The New York Times, like a prim schoolmarm, assures the reader, twice mind you—the first time in the second paragraph—that “no evidence has surfaced that any weapons went to Ansar al-Shariah, an extremist group blamed for the Benghazi attack.”

Why are they so sure of this?

Well, they don’t say.

They do seem to know the name of the American arms dealer—Marc Turi—who brokered the arms deal.

They do seem to know that Obama officials secretly met with Qatar officials who were steeped in supplying Islamic extremists with weapons.

They do seem to know information that could only have come from Barack Obama himself.

Is there anything this President doesn’t have his fingers in?

It’s like Chicago in the Twenties and Thirties all over again!

We should call Obama the Al Capone of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!

Written by The Obama Hustle

December 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Obama Backers Tied to Lobbies Raise Millions

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Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008

 

Obama Backers Tied to Lobbies Raise Millions

 

By

 

Published: October 27, 2011

 

 

  • WASHINGTON — Despite a pledge not to take money from lobbyists, President Obama has relied on prominent supporters who are active in the lobbying industry to raise millions of dollars for his re-election bid.       

 

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

President Obama’s car, outside a fund-raising brunch for his campaign that Mr. Obama attended in Medina, Wash., in September.

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Obama Raises More Than $70 Million(October 13, 2011)

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David L. Cohen, who oversees lobbying efforts for Comcast, is a member of Mr. Obama’s exclusive $500,000 bundling club.

At least 15 of Mr. Obama’s “bundlers” — supporters who contribute their own money to his campaign and solicit it from others — are involved in lobbying for Washington consulting shops or private companies. They have raised more than $5 million so far for the campaign.

Because the bundlers are not registered as lobbyists with the Senate, the Obama campaign has managed to avoid running afoul of its self-imposed ban on taking money from lobbyists.

But registered or not, the bundlers are in many ways indistinguishable from people who fit the technical definition of a lobbyist. They glide easily through the corridors of power in Washington, with a number of them hosting Mr. Obama at fund-raisers while also visiting the White House on policy matters and official business.

As both a candidate and as president, Mr. Obama has vowed to curb what he calls the corrupting influence of lobbyists, barring them not only from contributing to his campaign but also from holding jobs in his administration. While lobbyists grouse about the rules, ethics watchdogs credit the changes with raising ethical standards in Washington.

But the prevalence of major Obama fund-raisers who also work in the lobbying arena threatens to undercut the president’s ethics push, raising questions about whether the campaign’s policies square with its on-the-ground practices, some of those same watchdogs say.

“It’s a legitimate concern,” said Craig Holman, a registered lobbyist for Public Citizen, a nonpartisan ethics group in Washington. “The campaign has to draw the line somewhere, but the reality is that the president is still relying on wealthy special interests and embracing those people in his campaign.”

Take Sally Susman. An executive at the drug-maker Pfizer, she has raised more than $500,000 for the president’s re-election and helped organize a $35,800-a-ticket dinner that Mr. Obama attended in Manhattan in June. At the same time, she leads Pfizer’s powerful lobbying shop, and she has visited the White House four times since 2009 — twice on export issues.

But under the byzantine rules that govern federal lobbying, Ms. Susman has not registered with the Senate as a lobbyist.

Nor has David L. Cohen, who oversees lobbying at the Comcast Corporation and is also a member of Mr. Obama’s exclusive $500,000 bundling club.

At a June fund-raiser in the backyard of his Philadelphia home, Mr. Cohen hosted the president and some 120 guests who paid at least $10,000 each to attend; Mr. Obama called Mr. Cohen and his wife “great friends.”

As a matter of policy, Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign goes beyond what campaign law requires by refusing contributions from any “individual registered as a federal lobbyist.” Registered lobbyists are not even allowed inside his fund-raising events, and the campaign routinely returns checks from those trying to contribute.

Republican candidates, in contrast, have placed no restrictions at all on accepting lobbyists’ money. Mitt Romney had a closed-door fund-raiser just this week in Washington at the American Trucking Associations that was expected to include many K Street lobbyists.

The Obama campaign, which raised nearly $43 million last quarter, would not specifically discuss its fund-raisers who work in lobbying. Most of the bundlers themselves also declined to comment, referring questions to the campaign.

Through interviews and public records, The New York Times identified at least 15 major fund-raisers for the Obama campaign who have been involved in different aspects of the lobbying and influence industry, representing a range of corporate interests from telecommunications and high-tech software to Wall Street finance, international commerce and pharmaceuticals.

While none of the bundlers is currently registered as a federal lobbyist, at least four of them have been in the past. And a number of the bundlers work for prominent lobbying and law firms, including Greenberg Traurig and Blank Rome.

Although Mr. Obama has helped make lobbying something of a dirty word in Washington — most firms refer to it by the euphemism of “government affairs” — that has not stopped a number of his fund-raisers from advertising their access to power brokers as they seek out clients.

Alex Heckler, for instance, runs a Florida consulting firm he founded, LSN Partners, which boasts of its ability to “win results for our clients” at the national, state and local levels and to tap into “a strong national network of lobbying firms” through its contacts with “key decision makers.”

Mr. Heckler, a noted Democratic fund-raiser in Florida who raised money for the presidential bids of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, has already brought in at least $200,000 for the Obama campaign, records show. (The campaign uses only broad dollar ranges for the money raised by its bundlers, and it declined to provide more precise data.)

Likewise, Andy Spahn, owner of a government relations company in Los Angeles, tells visitors to his Web site about its “extensive relationships in Washington, D.C.,” and elsewhere in advocating for “high net-worth individuals,” corporations, nonprofit groups and others.

Mr. Spahn, who made his name doing lobbying work for DreamWorks film studio and was appointed by Mr. Obama to a presidential committee on the arts, has raised at least $500,000 for the president’s re-election.

And Michael Kempner, who has also brought in at least $500,000 for the campaign, runs a team of Washington lobbyists at his New Jersey firm, MWW Group, who, according to its promotional material, use their “important relationships with both the Democratic and Republican leadership” to wield influence for their private sector clients.

Seven of the lobbyists he employs are registered in Washington, but Mr. Kempner, the chief executive at the firm, is not.

The Obama campaign declined requests to discuss specific fund-raisers and their ties to lobbying work.

Ben LaBolt, a campaign spokesman, stressed in a statement that “the president has fought to limit the outsized influence that lobbyists have over the policy making process, passing laws that promote reform and disclosure and establishing rules ensuring that industry lobbyists can’t come into the government to oversee the industry for which they used to work.”

He said that while Republican candidates were actively raising money from special interest groups, Mr. Obama “drew a bright line” by rejecting contributions both from political action committees and from “Washington lobbyists whose job it is to influence federal policymakers.”

The disconnect between Mr. Obama’s public stance on lobbyists and his use of fund-raisers who are active in the lobbying industry rests in part on the ambiguity in the law over who must register as a federal lobbyist.

Under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, the complicated rules define lobbying in part as “active” or “direct” contacts meant to influence a public official, but they exclude “routine” contacts meant to simply gather information. The rules also take into account a variety of specific criteria, including how much time is spent advocating for a particular client, how much is paid, and which government officials are contacted.

Mr. Obama has run into political problems before over the question of who should be considered a lobbyist under his ethics restrictions.

Just weeks after the inauguration, in fact, Mr. Obama’s first pick as Health and Human Services secretary — former Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota — came under attack for acting as a highly paid “strategic adviser” to clients looking to influence government policy but failing to register as a lobbyist. (His nomination was ultimately withdrawn.)

More controversy came last year over the White House’s informal contacts with lobbyists. The administration drew criticism over reports that White House officials were routinely sitting down with registered lobbyists at off-site locales, like a nearby Caribou Coffee shop, for meetings that would not show up on official White House visitor logs.

Some Washington lobbyists suggest that the Obama administration’s tough public stance against lobbyists has served only to discourage those active in the lobbying industry from registering as lobbyists in the Senate.

“What all this rhetoric does is to drive lobbying even further into the shadows,” said a Democratic lobbyist who works frequently with the administration but spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“Obama will not take money from registered lobbyists like me,” the lobbyist said with some bitterness, “but that doesn’t mean that he won’t take money from people who are lobbying. There’s a big difference.”

Barclay Walsh contributed research.

 

 

 

Keith Olbermann Has Been Fired by Current TV – Good Bye MF

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Al Gore's Hearing on Global Warming

AL Gore creater of Current TV

Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann has been fired by Current TV, the network announced Friday. He will be replaced by former New York governor and CNN host Eliot Spitzer.

Olbermann had hosted “Countdown,” which he brought from MSNBC after his exit there, since June. His short tenure began with fanfare, but ended, as many of Olbermann’s previous jobs have, with deep acrimony on both sides.

Spitzer, who had his own short-lived stint as the host of “Parker Spitzer” (later called “In The Arena”) on CNN, began hosting his show, “Viewpoints,” immediately on Friday night. He made no mention of Olbermann or his somewhat unusual arrival to the post at the top of the show.

The news of Olbermann’s termination was first reported by the New York Times’ Brian Stelter.

A source told Politico that Olbermann was fired for breach of contract, saying that he had “sabotaged” the network. Howard Kurtz reported that Olbermann had begun refusing to toss to other peoples’ shows or appear in advertisements with them.

Another source told the New York Observer that Spitzer had been in talks with Current for months.

The channel released a statement signed by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, the founders of the network, on Friday. The statement made plain that Current’s relationship with Olbermann had devolved to an unsustainable point:

To the Viewers of Current:

We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet.  We are more committed to those goals today than ever before. Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.

The statement also called Spitzer “an astute observer of the issues of the day.”

Olbermann also released a statement in 140-character chunks on Twitter, saying that he would be taking legal action:

I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV. Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract. It goes almost without saying that the claims against me in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain. In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.

Olbermann’s lawyer, Patricia Glaser, told Deadline he would be suing. “[Current] can expect a bad a result,” she said.

It was also announced Friday that Olbermann will appear on David Letterman’s show on Tuesday to discuss his departure.

Olbermann’s firing leaves what was supposed to be his triumphant return to television in tatters. After his bitter departure from MSNBC, Current sought to make him the centerpiece of its rebranding as a progressive news network. It granted him the title of Chief News Officer, gave him an equity stake in the company, and promised that his uncompromising brand of television would be the cornerstone of its programming. Announcing the beginning of the partnership, Al Gore said that he was “extremely honored and delighted” that Olbermann was joining him, and called it “a great fit in every way.”

It was not long, though, before the tensions between Olbermann and his superiors exploded into the open. In January, his sudden absence from Current’s coverage of the Iowa caucuses led to open warfare between the two sides. Olbermann fired off a statement saying that he was “not given a legitimate opportunity to host under acceptable conditions,” adding, “They know it and we know it. Telling half the story is wrong.”

There were also reports that Olbermann was incensed by repeated technical problems with his show, and miffed that he was not being given a greater say in deciding which shows were going to precede and follow his. (During his time on Current, the network added shows featuring Cenk Uygur at 7 PM and Jennifer Granholm at 9 PM.)

Olbermann, often citing medical issues, also began missing some days of work, something that apparently was used against him in his firing. One of the people who had filled in for him, ironically, was Eliot Spitzer.

As one executive said rather presciently during the height of Olbermann’s conflicts with the network, “Everybody is replaceable.”

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