Senator Bernie Sanders has lambasted the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for taking an “unfortunate step backward” in once again allowing donations from lobbyists and PACs, a move that Obama had banned when he became a nominee in 2008.
Senator Sanders, who raised almost three quarters of his campaign funds from small donors, has called for his rival Hillary Clinton to join him in opposing the new policy, as reported by the International Business Times.
It is yet to be seen whether Ms Clinton would support the move. The Democrat received more than $30 million from lobbyists and lawyers between 2000 and 2008, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), while Mr Sanders got just over $310,000.
In this election cycle alone, the Clinton campaign has raised $725,000 from lobbyists, while Mr Sanders was given less than $5,000.
“We will not take a dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs,” President Obama announced in 2008. “We’re going to change how Washington works. They 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 DNC has reverted to its former policy of accepting large donations over the past few months, as reported by the Washington Post. Only one rule remains in place - lobbyists and PAC representatives are not allowed to attend events featuring Obama, Vice President Joe Biden or their spouses.
DNC spokesman Mark Paustenbach told the Washington Post that the change in guidelines is to ensure candidates have the “resources and infrastructure” in place to “best support” the eventual nominee.
The DNC is still fighting claims that it runs in favour of the Hillary Clinton campaign. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz used to be a Clinton campaigner and scheduled most of the Democrat debates at the weekend, when arguably less people would watch them.
Mr Sanders had to sue to regain access to the Democrat database after the Clinton campaign accused him of improperly accessing the data.
Ms Schultz told CNN that "superdelegates" ensure that party leaders do not have to end up in a position where they are running against “grassroots activists”.
She also insisted in an interview with Lenny’s Letter that she did the best she could to give all candidates exposure and there was nothing “sinister” behind the debate scheduling.