The New York Times has a profile of the man behind the fundraising effort for the Democratic National Convention in Denver next month. His name is Steven Farber, and he just happens to be the head of the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which the Times describes as, “one of the fastest-growing lobbying shops in Washington and one of the most powerful firms in the West.” Now ordinarily this would not be news, a lobbyist raising money for a politician, political party, or political event. But as is the case with almost everything about the Democratic Party these days, and about its presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, it is not quite as simple as it appears.
Obama has made quite a show of his claim to be running a campaign free from special interest money. He claims to take no contributions from lobbyists and hits Sen. John McCain at every opportunity for his alleged ties to lobbyists. Now, as Sen. Obama’s fundraising prowess is coming back to Earth a bit, and as the host committee for the Denver convention has fallen $11 million short of its fundraising goals, Sen. Obama prepares to accept the nomination of his party at an event bought and paid for by powerful special interests. How bad is this turn of events for Obama? Consider that when the New York Times notices that the would-be Democratic president has no clothes, and says so, he must not only be naked, but standing behind a magnifying glass.
Mr. Farber’s vast contact list could prove crucial in raising the millions of dollars needed by the Denver host committee to showcase Senator Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in August in Denver. But Mr. Farber’s activities are a public display of how corporate connections fuel politics — exactly the type of special influence that Mr. Obama had pledged to expunge from politics when he said he would not accept donations from lobbyists. […]
“Steve Farber is involved with a lot of high-level candidates and ones who have won,” said Floyd Ciruli, head of Ciruli Associates, a Denver political consulting firm. “He’s famous for hiring ex-politicians, their children and ex-judges. He’s very good at making connections with people who have access to politicians.”
One of those people with “access to politicians” who have worked for Farber’s high-powered lobbying firm turns out to be Judy Black. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because she is the wife of McCain campaign senior adviser and fundraiser, Charlie Black. Black made news recently with some…inartful comments he made about the potential effect on the election of another terrorist attack on the United States. But Obama has periodically called on McCain to drop Black and has made McCain’s alleged ties to lobbyists a feature of his stump speech. How ironic then that Farber, the man who is raising the money to make Obama’s coronation and torchlight parade rally possible, has helped put food on the table of a guy Obama considers to be reprehensible. Now which one is the pot and which is the kettle, Senator?
Farber isn’t shy about his ability to tap into big special interest money on Obama’s behalf. He knows what he is selling, and who he is selling it to, even if he is a bit shy about admitting who benefits from his connections.
“I have my list of companies, not only my client list, but companies throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region,” Mr. Farber said in a telephone interview. “We’ve got offices in Las Vegas and California, so I have clients that we can contact, and I have friends of clients that I intend to contact. And if they have given to the convention already, I try to get them to double their contribution.” […]
“The money to the convention doesn’t go to the candidates or the Democratic National Committee, but to the host committee to pay for the cost of the convention,” Mr. Farber said. “So what [Obama] has said [about lobbyist connections] doesn’t inhibit it.” […]
“What I am now selling is Senator Obama and the excitement he has created in his candidacy,” he added.
Whatever helps you sleep at night, Mr. Farber.
Of course, it’s plain that what Farber is selling is access to Obama, wherever the check goes. And its similarly clear that Obama is willing to be sold. That isn’t the new kind of politics Obama speaks of, it’s the old kind and worse. It’s the kind that brazenly and unashamedly lies to the voters for personal gain and the pursuit of power.
So, you go, Sen. Obama. Have that coronation party in Denver. Just know that when you sell your soul to the Devil, you never really get what you expect. And the Devil has a long memory.
Cross posted at Mark on the Right