Lobbyists and Super PACs

Here’s something to watch for: lobbyist donations to super PACs.

Last month, the Obama campaign announced that it would return campaign contributions from registered lobbyists. (Emphasis, as always, on registered.)

But now Obama campaign officials say that to stay competitive, they will provide more indirect support to Priorities USA, the super PAC supporting the president’s re-election bid. White House advisers and campaign staffers will now be permitted to appear at fundraisers organized by the PAC.

As The New York Times reports, leaders of the PAC have been meeting with potential donors across the country.

Does that mean that Obama and Republican candidates will turn a blind eye to lobbyist support of outside organizations? Technically, they have no control over the activities of super PACs, which are prohibited from coordinating with the campaigns.

So far, we haven’t seen much activity when it comes to lobbyists and super PACs.

One exception is former Texas Congressman Tom Loeffler, a lobbyist with Akin, Gump.

After a brief stint as chairman of Jon Huntsman Jr.’s presidential campaign, Loeffler started raising money for Our Destiny PAC, the super PAC supporting Huntsman’s bid.

A report filed last month with the Federal Election Commission showed the biggest donor to Our Destiny was Huntsman’s wealthy father, Jon Huntsman Sr. The elder Huntsman, founder of the Huntsman Corporation, gave $1.88 million.

Other major contributors included Wal-Mart heirs Jim Walton and Christy Walton; businessman and former U.S. ambassador to Romania Nicholas Frank Taubman; James R. Swartz of Accel Partners; and Research Affiliates founder Robert D. Arnott.

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