The Obama administration is in defense mode after being caught playing the hypocrite on campaign donations from lobbyists. The Washington Free Beacon reports,
Former Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) is an active campaign bundler for President Obama, having raised between $200,000 and $500,000, according to campaign records.
He is also a registered federal lobbyist.
The revelation poses a challenge for President Obama, who has banned registered lobbyists from personally contributing or bundling donations to his campaign. The president even touted these self-imposed restrictions in a Dec. 28, 2011, fundraising e-mail, writing: “We don’t take a dime from D.C. lobbyists or special-interest PACs—never have and never will.”
That email was sent days before Klein filed his paper work to become a “D.C. lobbyist.”
Since that original report, both Klein and Obama have done a little tap-dancing:
UPDATE: An Obama campaign official tells Politico that Ron Klein is “no longer associated with the campaign” and never raised any money after registering as a lobbyist. The campaign does not intend to return the cash. . . .
UPDATE II: After a WFB exclusive, Ron Klein tells NBC’s Michael Isikoff that he plans to immediately de-register as a lobbyist for Spirit Airlines Inc., saying he never meant to register in the first place.
“I’m not a lobbyist,” Klein said, claiming his registration was the result of a “clerical error” by an employee of Holland & Knight LLP, the lobbying law firm where he works.
Klein’s assertion seems to contradict comments made by an Obama campaign official earlier in the day, which indicated that Klein was, in fact, a registered lobbyist.
“The minute [Klein] became a lobbyist, he stopped raising money for the campaign,”the official told Politico. “He’s no longer associated with the campaign.”
Klein said he plans to continue bundling donations for Obama’s reelection campaign. He has already raised at least $200,000 to date.
Holland & Knight spokeswoman Linda Butler told the Washington Free Beacon the firm is “not commenting on this story.”