Biden taps influence industry despite pledge on lobbyists

AP NEWS | 9/3/2019 | Staff
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden entered the Democratic primary promising “from day one” to reject campaign cash from lobbyists.

“I work for you — not any industry,” he tweeted.

Hours - April - Campaign - Kickoff - Vice

Yet hours after his April campaign kickoff, the former vice president went to a fundraiser at the home of a lobbying executive. And in the months since, he’s done it again and again.

It’s difficult to quantify how much Biden has raised from the multibillion-dollar influence industry, but the roughly $200,000 he accepted from employees of major lobbying firms is far more than any of his rivals has received, according to a review of campaign finance data by The Associated Press.

Fraction - Quarter - Money - Comfort - Industry

Though it is a small fraction of the $21.5 million he reported raising in the second quarter of 2019, the money demonstrates a comfort with an industry that is the object of scorn of Democratic activists and some of Biden’s principal rivals.

Biden’s pledge applies only to federally registered lobbyists, and most of the money tracked by the AP was from others in the influence industry. But thousands of dollars did come from federally registered lobbyists, and Biden’s campaign said it is returning such donations.

Contributions - Campaign - Lobbyists - Representatives - Google

That includes roughly $6,000 in contributions his campaign accepted from six federally registered lobbyists, including representatives of Google, aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin, and pharmaceutical companies, records show. An additional $5,750 was donated by two lobbyists who had been registered shortly before making contributions to Biden’s campaign, records show.

In at least two instances, donations came from lobbyists with criminal records who have served time in federal prison.

Former - Florida - Rep - Lawrence - J

Former Florida Rep. Lawrence J. Smith, a federally registered lobbyist representing the city of Pembroke Pines, gave Biden $1,000 after attending a fundraiser in May. Smith left Congress in 1993 after it was revealed he bounced 161 bad checks. He was convicted months later...
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