It's a fool's game to take anything Obama says at face value. There is always a catch. For his second inaugural, he publicly congratulates himself for banning lobbyists from sponsoring the events. Of course, no such prohibition exists on the companies who hire the lobbyists. The companies who are trying to influence the government are welcome to participate, even if their hired guns are not. The corporations who are the biggest donors to the inauguration have spent $160 million lobbying government since Obama first took office.
From a report by The Center for Public Integrity:
Chief among corporate inaugural donors: AT&T Inc., Microsoft Corp., energy giant Southern Co., biotechnology firm Genentech and health plan manager Centene Corp. Together, more than 300 registered lobbyists worked on the five companies’ behalf to influence legislation and government policy, according to their latest federal filings covering January through September.
Corporations hire lobbyists to get access to officials so they can advocate for their positions. It is the access that is the main reason to hire a lobbyist. To a large extent, lobbyists are simply the middlemen. Obama's ban on lobbyist donations simply cuts out the middleman, allows corporations better, more direct, access to officials and allows him to reap dollars from those most trying to influence his Administration.
For his first inauguration, in 2009, Obama banned contributions from corporations and limited individual donations to less than $50,000. Those limits have been wiped away for this year's event.
Always a catch.
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