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Now, Obama admits campaign/PAC donation links

Bad news for the Barack Obama camp and his politics of hope clean-guy image.

The Washington Post reveals today that there was, indeed, close coordination between the Illinois senator's presidential campaign and his leadership PAC, Hopefund, in deciding which local, state and federal politicians around the country were to receive thousands of dollars in contributions from Obama's PAC.

Such coordination appears to be forbidden under Federal Election Commission rules because it, in effect, would give a candidate another, less regulated financial fund to influence the outcome of his own campaign. But Obama officials express confidence they violated no rules. The Post's John Solomon reported the other day that Obama's Hopefund had distributed money in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire to people like New Hampshire state Sen. Jacayln Cilley, who got $1,000 from Obama last summer. Six days later the Democrat in the nation's first primary state announced her endorsement of his candidacy because she said she believed in him.

Likewise, Obama's PAC gave $9,000 to U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, who was New Hampshire's first congressional member to endorse Obama. In the earlier story Obama spokesmen denied any connection between the PAC and Democratic presidential campaign.

But today's piece alters that account and says the PAC has distributed $180,000 to groups and candidates in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa and another $150,000 to similar destinations in states with primary balloting through mid-February.

Bob Bauer, private counsel for both Obama's campaign and PAC, named names of those from the campaign who'd help select the PAC's recipients and professed confidence the Obama entities had met all FEC regulations.

But Scott Thomas, a Democrat and former FEC chairman, says: "He is clearly pushing the envelope."

Obama spokesmen continue to deny any connection between their donations and the recipients' endorsements. But expect to hear more insinuations about this in charges from the Hillary Clinton camp.

--Andrew Malcolm

Comments () | Archives (8)

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It may be a good idea if you name the names of those who collected Obama’s PAC money but endorsed Hilary Clinton. You have not mentioned that some people who work in Obama’s PAC Hopefund and Obama’s campaign. Do you know if FEC rule forbids such job classification? Is it not true that FEC rule forbids using PAC fund for campaign expenses? For Obama’s campaign to have violated the rule, there must be quid pro quo. If some who received the PAC money endorsed Obama and others endorsed his competition, where is impropriety?

You say Obama's behavior is "forbidden" up front, then hide a quote at the end that says the donations are just "clearly pushing the envelope," not illegal You lead off with a clearly derogatory reference to Obama's "politics of hope clean-guy image." No mention of Clinton's straight-out bribe of $400000 for Vilsack's support or her refusal to unseal her records. Exactly what kind of journalism are you engaging in here?

I'm sure we will hear from Hillary's camp- because she is a hypocrite, and it would be like her to accuse someone of doing exactly what she did.

Hillary donated to early voting state politicians.


just because hillary emptied her PAC into the coffers of early states last year, does that her right and Obama wrong?

I don't think so.

"I'm sure we will hear from Hillary's camp- because she is a hypocrite, and it would be like her to accuse someone of doing exactly what she did.

Hillary donated to early voting state politicians.


just because hillary emptied her PAC into the coffers of early states last year, does that her right and Obama wrong?

I don't think so."

You don't think so because like Obama, you don't care about the law and what Federal Regulations Obama is skirting. I'm sure that Obama's campaign can cover it up so that everything will appear above board - but the truth is - he is the same traditional politician wrapped in an arrogant facace. If there's a hypocrite here - it's Obama not Hillary.

Among the Democratic candidates, he lies the most and yet he is the first to accuse others of lack of transparency. He has made factually inaccurate claims about the other campaigns and yet has not done anything even when he has already been corrected - choosing instead to let the lie remain so as to smear the other candidates.

If you think he is thinking about America - forget that. All he is thinking about is himself. He is vain and arrogant having written two autobiographies even before he reached 45 years old. He is the least qualified candidate since World War II - but he and his wife has the temerity to suggest the black folks who won't vote for them are either stupid or ignorant.

If he will not get the nomination, I will not be surprised if hebolts the Democratic Party and go Republican. He is already positioned right now to be able to do that. He does not care one whit what the Democratic party is fighting for. When given the chance last Presidential Elections to speak on behalf of the party - instead of supporting the others - he talked about Obama, Obama, and himself. And in the process berated other Democrats for holding to much to their principles - he apparently wants to negotiate his.

I'm glad that he will not win.

Do a google search of the money and favours the Clinton campaign has paid for support. Here is just one:

The Clinton campaign has offered 400000 to Vilsac to garner his support and you are reporting 1,000 paid to a woman who later chose to endorse Obama? Have you checked how much the Clinton campaign paid to Sen. Jacayln Cilley? And by the way, while we are telling all, the Obama PAC also gave 6,000 to another Senator's campaign- the campaign of one Hillary Clinton! By your logic, Clinton should be endorsing Obama six times over! Senators routinely give money gathered by their PACs to the campaign of other senators. This is not really big news-please get priorities straight and report the big stuff.

I have read that Howard Wolfson, (the Clinton camp's media guy), stated on Meet the Press that the Hopefund donated 68% of its funds to candidates in the early states ( with nominating contests on Feb.5 or earlier)---trying to make it seem that there was gross favoritism in the pattern of giving.

But think about it---I believe there are 23 "early states". So the Hope fund had almost a 50/50 chance of any one donation going to someone in an "early state."

Mr. Wolfson's howls of protest ring hollow in my ears . . . rather like they're trying to trick folks into thinking there's a serious story here. We're on to you, Howard!!

Obama is ahead in Iowa and gaining ground in New Hampshire. Instead of campaigning fairly, Clinton puts accusatory attacks out there every day and the media runs with it.
Here is a link to Fact Check on every attack to date:

Some background information on Hopefund, HillPAC and the Clinton Foundation:
57 Percent of Hopefund Donations in 2007 To States Other Than IA, SC, NV, and NH. Of the $476,000 given away by Hopefund in 2007, 57 percent of it was to states other than IA, NH, SC, NV. The majority of people who received donations either did not endorse a candidate or endorsed Hillary Clinton. [FEC review, 11/07]
Hopefund Donated $4,200 to Clinton. Hopefund made two separate donations of $2,100 each to Friends of Hillary in 2005. [FEC, accessed 12/2/07]

Clinton Used Foundation to Make Early State Donation. "And just this week, no doubt unintentionally, she stumbled on another way to leverage non-campaign cash into a political benefit in a primary state when money from the Clinton Family Foundation, the Clintons' family-funded charity that has given them tax write-offs since 2001, popped up to provide an assist. On Tuesday, during a swing through the hotly-contested early primary state of South Carolina, Hillary presented a $100,000 gift from the foundation to help build a new public library in poor, rural Marlboro County, South Carolina." [Newsday, 11/29/07]

Clinton Used HillPAC To Pay Employees of Presidential Campaign In January of 2007. Clinton used HillPAC to pay four members of her campaign staff in 2007, when her presidential campaign was in its formative stages. Patti Solis Doyle received $42,165 in wages and consulting fees; Heather Hurlburt received $6693 in consulting fees; Judith Litchman received $4368 in consulting fees, and Peter Daou received $3971 in consulting fees. All four of those people are now on Clinton's presidential campaign. Patti Solis Doyle received her first paycheck from the campaign on 2/2/07, as did Peter Daou; Heather Hurlburt and Judith Lichtman received their first consulting payments on the same date. [FEC, accessed 11/27/07]

Clinton Used HillPAC to Donate $234,000 to Early States Since 2001; $59,000 In Donations Made In 2006. Clinton gave $234,000 from HillPAC to the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina since 2001. Almost $60,000 in donations, including money to the Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina Democratic Parties, Governor John Lynch, and Governor Chet Culver, were made during 2006. [FEC, accessed 11/27/07]


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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