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DNC allows lobbyist, PAC contributions

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Feb. 12, 2016 at 2:43 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The Democratic National Committee decided Friday to start accepting contributions from lobbyists and PACs, undoing a policy adopted in 2008.

The policy, adopted when Barack Obama became the party's presumptive nominee, is the last of the committee's restrictions on such donations.

"It is a major step in the wrong direction," Fred Wertheimer, head of campaign finance watchdog group Democracy 21, told The Washington Post. "And it is completely out of touch with the clear public rejection of the role of political money in Washington."

The only remaining prohibition is one that bars lobbyists or PAC leaders from attending events that feature the president, vice president or their spouses, according to the DNC. The Hill reported, however, many waivers have allowed lobbyists to work within the administration.

Over the summer, the DNC also allowed lobbyists to begin funding the Democratic nominating convention, which will take place in Philadelphia later this year. The change was due to Congress eliminating federal funds for the conventions in 2013.

The New York Times reported that at the time, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in support of the rule changes. Friday's rule changes have raised concerns among advocates of campaign finance reform that it will disproportionately benefit Clinton's campaign.

Obama pushed for the lobbyist restrictions in 2008. "We are going to change how Washington works," he said at the time. Lobbyists and corporate PACs "will not fund my party. They will not run our White House. And they will not drown out the voice of the American people when I'm president of the United States of America."

The rollback of the last of these restrictions coincides not only with the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination, but with Obama's last year in the White House.

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