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DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION / INSIDER OUT

Biden sees the light and adopts Obama's ban on PAC money

August 28, 2008|Dan Morain

Barack Obama makes a point of rejecting money from political action committees, condemning them as a symbol of what's wrong with insider politics in Washington.

And Obama's campaign aides have slapped at Republican John McCain's decision to take PAC money. But now that Joe Biden has joined the ticket, Obama's criticism of McCain might become muted.

Biden has taken significant amounts of political action committee money over the years -- $475,000, or more than 20% of the $2.3 million he has raised since 2005 for his Unite Our States leadership account, established to help fund other Democrats' races.

Federal Election Commission records show that firms whose PACs have donated to Biden include Rupert Murdoch's News America, Microsoft and Safeway. He took the PAC donations from 2005 through mid-2008, with $141,800 coming this year.

Most -- $279,000 -- came from organized labor, including $11,000 from postal workers and $25,000 from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which have a stake in congressional decisions.

In keeping with Obama's policy, Biden now refuses all PAC money. Biden spokesman David Wade said Biden "has a 35-year record standing up to powerful interests from big oil companies to big drug companies and big insurance companies."

Spokesman Danny Diaz of the Republican National Committee charged that although Obama "decries Washington insiders," Biden "is the model Washington insider with numerous connections to those very same special interests."

-- Dan Morain

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