The recent endorsement of Mitt Romney for President by The Washington Examiner has worked to underscore an odd and conflicting point by Romney supporters who are attempting to “make the case for Mitt.”
A common line that has been consistently trumpeted by Romney supporters is that Gingrich’s ties to Freddie Mac when he was out in the private sector constituted payment for lobbying, even if under the law Gingrich was not a lobbyist.
In the Washington Examiner’s endorsement of Romney, they stated that, “we urged conservatives to ‘think twice’ before deciding to back Gingrich, saying that he ‘has been seen as an ultimate Washington insider, as exemplified in that $1.6 million he was paid to represent Fannie and Freddie.’” The examiner then goes on to criticize President Obama’s relationship with lobbyists saying “Remember, Obama thought long and hard about getting elected president, but once there, he let Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and legions of industry lobbyists and campaign donors shape his economic stimulus program and the bulk of Obamacare.”
Recent attack ads run by Romney’s Super PACs have consistently highlighted Gingrich’s “taking” money from Freddie Mac.
However, after looking at Romney’s campaign contributions for Q2 and Q3 of 2011, it would appear much more likely that the lobbyists of Washington hold far more I.O.U.’s with Romney, than they do with Gingrich.
Bloomberg recently came out with a synopsis of lobbyist bundle contributions to the Republican candidates through the end of Q3, the last time numbers were reported. The article, courtesy of figures found on the Federal Election Commission’s website, highlighted Romney’s contributions from lobbyists such as Wayne Berman and Drew Maloney of Ogilvy Government Relations, who brought in a total over $150,000. Additionally, Patrick Durkin, Sr. of Barclays, brought in over $350,000 in his lobbying bundle, just to name a few. The article went on to explain (emphasis added):
“When lobbyists bundle donations through events or phone solicitations that add up to more than $16,000, campaigns are required to disclose their names and amounts raised, though only on a quarterly basis. As of Sept. 30, Romney listed eight lobbyists — including Maloney — who had raised almost $1 million combined. Perry listed one, Dan Brouillette, who had brought in $77,000. Gingrich had none.”
The Washington Examiner’s endorsement of Romney and subsequent comments on Gingrich are emblematic of Romney supporters at large.
They attack Gingrich for earning money in the private sector charging him with being a de facto lobbyist, and then overlook the fact that more than any other candidate, lobbyists are backing Mitt Romney. While Romney and his fellow supporters are demanding that Gingrich return the money he received from Freddie Mac, Romney is happily accepting donations from lobbyists.
Gingrich and Perry also have used lobbyists for fundraising, according to reports, but only the Romney campaign has made lobbyists a campaign issue.
In the 2008 cycle, Romney had a lobbyist problem. He still does, but the conservative media is not vetting it.