John Edwards photo

Edwards Campaign Press Release - Edwards Issues Lobbyist Challenge to Fellow Democrats

August 16, 2007

Calls on Senator Obama to join him in urging Democratic Party to stop taking Washington lobbyist money

Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Today, Senator John Edwards renewed his call for the Democratic Party to take a bold step toward reforming the way Washington works by refusing to accept federal lobbyist money from this day forward. In a letter sent earlier today, Edwards asked fellow Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama to join him in leading this important effort by co-signing letters that will be sent to all Democratic campaign committees urging them to end the money game in Washington.

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:

Dear Senator Obama,

The Democratic Party has always been the party of the American people – the party that gives a voice to working men and women, a voice to regular families and a voice to all the people that have trouble being heard over special interests. With more than 60 lobbyists for every member of Congress, the voices of regular Americans are being drowned out in Washington. The system has been rigged against the people who make our country great – working and middle class families. These families are struggling to get by, while Washington insiders and special interests write our policies to benefit their bottom line.

I have never taken a dime from Washington lobbyists, and I am proud that you have stopped taking their money in this campaign. Now is the time for the two of us to lead the way on this issue. I urge you to join me in publicly calling on the Democratic Party – National, Senate, and Congressional Committees, as well as all Democrats running for federal office – to put an end to the money game in Washington by refusing to accept any and all federal lobbyist money from this point forward. I will be sending a letter to the Democratic campaign committees asking them to do this, and I hope you will join me in signing the letter.

We can't sit down at the table and work out a deal for change – we have to take action and fight back. Compromise with lobbyists is not going to lead America towards universal health care or end our addiction to oil or end poverty – it will only lead us down the path of incremental change that fails, once again, to address this nation's enormous challenges.

There is no middle ground – if we want to make our government work for regular Americans, we can't negotiate and compromise with these insiders. We have to stand up and fight back. I've fought against these big interests my entire life, and I can tell you they aren't going to give up their power without a fight.

As Democrats, we must stand up and show the world that the Democratic Party truly is the party of the people. Real change in America – real change in Washington – will never occur if all we do is replace their insiders with our insiders.

Please join me and the growing number of Americans who are tired of the way Washington works in this important effort to end the money game in Washington and put our government back on the side of regular families.

I look forward to your response in the coming days.


John Edwards

John Edwards, Edwards Campaign Press Release - Edwards Issues Lobbyist Challenge to Fellow Democrats Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives