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Edwards Campaign Press Release - Edwards Again Calls On Senator Obama To Join Him In Issuing Lobbyist Challenge To Democrats

August 20, 2007

Asks Fellow Democrats to Stop Accepting Federal Lobbyist Money in Effort to Curb Lobbyist Influence and Enact Real Change in Washington

Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Today, Senator John Edwards once again called upon fellow Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama to join him in leading an important effort to end the money game in Washington by co-signing letters that will be sent to all Democratic campaign committees urging them to stop accepting federal lobbyist money from this day forward.

Edwards first issued his "lobbyist challenge" to fellow candidates at the YearlyKos Presidential Leadership Forum on August 4, 2007. There, Senator Clinton refused to accept Edwards' challenge and went on to say that she would continue to accept donations from federal lobbyists.

The text of the letter sent to Senator Obama today is below:

August 20, 2007

Dear Senator Obama,

Last week, I sent you a letter asking you to join me in taking a stand for millions of working and middle-class American families by calling on the Democratic Party to stop accepting campaign contributions from federal lobbyists and help put an end to the money game in Washington once and for all. Let me be clear, I am not calling on any campaign or candidate to return what has already been legally contributed. But I am proposing that we, as Democrats, stop accepting donations from federal lobbyists from this day forward. It's a bold challenge – and one that has drawn fire from more than a few Washington insiders. But that's why it's all the more important for us to make sure it happens.

I have never taken a dime from Washington lobbyists, and I am proud that you have stopped taking money in this campaign – in fact, it's why I asked you to join me in leading this important effort to help ensure that no DC lobbyist will stand in the way of real change.

In response to my challenge, you described your legislation to make campaign fundraising more transparent and invited me to support some of your other ethics proposals. Greater transparency is, without question, an important first step and I support your proposals. But I strongly believe we must go further. Letting people watch the money game as it's being played simply isn't enough – we need to put an end to the money game altogether.

Rather than settle for cleaning up the "muddy waters" in Washington that have allowed lobbyists to use their money and influence to stall efforts to raise the minimum wage, establish health care or address global warming, why not start fresh?

We don't have to wait for Congress to pass a law or for the next election cycle to come along. We can enact change right now. By pledging to stop taking any and all federal lobbyist money from this day forward, the Democratic Party can send a powerful message to the American people that we are and will always be the party of the people.

And we should invite the Republican Party to join us, or else expose for everyone else to see – thanks to your proposals for greater transparency – whose interests really matter to them. What better way to show the American people exactly who's on their side, and who's bought and paid for by big corporations and special interests?

If we want real change, it's time for us to lead the way by showing that no interest is more important to us than the interest of the millions of hardworking American families whose influence has been overshadowed by Washington insiders and special interest lobbyists for far too long.

So I ask you once again, will you join me in calling on the Democratic Party to stop taking Washington lobbyist money?

It's the only way to fundamentally change the way Washington works. And I look forward to you now joining me in leading the way toward that change.


John Edwards

John Edwards, Edwards Campaign Press Release - Edwards Again Calls On Senator Obama To Join Him In Issuing Lobbyist Challenge To Democrats Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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