Late last week, Genghis wrote a good piece about U.S. Senator Chris Dodd and his then-nascent imbroglio over lobbyists, attempting to determine whether or not Dodd is a friend or foe to Washington D.C. lobbyists. The answer was a toss up at best.
The Dodd campaign has pushed the “Chris Dodd is mean to lobbyists” message to separate Dodd from the D.C. political class while opponents, such as Rob Simmons, Tom Foley, the Connecticut Republican Party, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee – have sought to connect them.
The latest in the tit-for-tat started over the weekend when Mr. Dodd attended the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s Martha’s Vineyard event for high roller lobbyists, as reported by The Hill:
Dodd’s attendance at the retreat follows a series of web videos his campaign released promoting his populist credentials and highlighting the frustration some lobbyists are feeling with the senator, including quotes from anonymous lobbyists in news reports.
It has been a race ever since to see which opponent could ring the “Hypocrite” bell the loudest.
This is how the ad cherry-picks from the article: “Financial industry lobbyist on Dodd’s leadership: ‘It’s very scary for lobbyists and for the industry in general.'”
What the article actually says: “‘If he’d won his election and he was looking at these issues with a full six-year term in front of him, he’d be taking different positions,’ the financial industry lobbyist said. ‘It’s a scary thing for lobbyists and for the industry in general.'”
Ambassador Tom Foley’s campaign, not to be outdone, has pushed back in their own way – by pledging that their campaign will not accept any campaign contributions from Political Action Committees. From an e-mail from the Foley campaign:
“The enormous amount of money Senator Dodd has accepted from PACs, particularly ones representing financial institutions he regulates, does not pass the smell test,” Tom Foley said. “I will not accept any PAC money and I urge all my fellow candidates to make the same pledge. No one in Connecticut should have to wonder if there is a conflict between the special interest money a candidate receives and the needs of Connecticut citizens. Governor Jodi Rell set this admirable standard for Connecticut during her 2006 campaign and I am happy to follow her lead.”
Among the takeaway points here:
- Chris Dodd is Caught in a Conundrum– He is beating lobbyists with a club in his messaging, but he needs their money to buy the club. At what point do the D.C. based lobbyists get angry and cut off contributions to Dodd? Probably never.
- Tom Foley, Player – One of the big question marks early in this primary battle has been whether former Ambassador Tom Foley is a for-real candidate or not. If there are any lingering doubts, they should be gone by now.
- Has Anyone Seen Sam Caliguiri? – There seems to be two tiers of candidates at this point on the GOP side – those that are in (Simmons, Foley, and Caligiuri) and those that are questionable (Schiff, Orchulli). With weak fundraising and a thin media presence, Caligiuri seems to be at risk of creating a third tier – “also ran”.