The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has removed its restrictions that banned political donations from lobbyists and PACS, which were introduced in 2008 under then presidential candidate Barack Obama. The lifting of the restrictions follows last summer’s announcement that the DNC was lifting a ban on lobbyist contributions to convention-related expenses. The Washington Post reports, “The DNC’s recent change in guidelines will ensure that we continue to have the resources and infrastructure in place to best support whoever emerges as our eventual nominee,” according to Mark Paustenbach, deputy communications director for the DNC. “Electing a Democrat to the White House is vital to building on the progress we’ve made over the last seven years, which has resulted in a record 71 straight months of private-sector job growth and nearly 14 million new jobs.” Of the old rules the only remaining portion is that “lobbyists and PAC representatives will still not be able to attend events that feature Obama, Vice President Biden or their spouses,” according to Paustenbach.
This change in policy at the DNC could have a profound effect on the 2016 election as Sec. Hillary Clinton has a significant fundraising advantage among lobbyists and PACs compared to her Democratic primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders. The International Business Times reports that, “From 2000 to 2008 she [Clinton] raised more than $30 million from those classified as lawyers and lobbyists, data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics show. That group’s data show in that same time period, Sanders accepted more than $310,000 from those classified as lawyers and lobbyists.”
The 2016 presidential campaigns have thus far painted a similar picture. According to the International Business Times Sec. Clinton’s campaign has raised “roughly $725,000 from lobbyists for this year’s contests. Sen. Sanders has received $4,228 worth of contributions from lobbyists during his presidential bid.”
Following the announcement from the DNC, Sen. Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement, “This is an unfortunate step backward. We support the restrictions that President Obama put in place and we hope Secretary Clinton will join us in supporting the president.”