CINCINNATI (TDB) -- This could become an issue of some import in the Midwestern and Great Lakes belt of domestic auto manufacturing states by fall as the presidential campaign heats up. A vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, Lottie Shackleford is a registered lobbyist. Her client list has included Hyundai Motor Co., the Korean automaker that former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft tried to lure into the Cincinnati area in 2002. But Hyundai put its first U.S. plant -- a billion dollar-plus investment -- in Alabama instead. Many U.S. autoworkers believe imports and foreign carmakers have strangled their industry. Those feelings are especially strong in swing state Ohio, and also in Michigan, and could spill over into the fall campaign. Anti-NAFTA and anti-globalization sentiment are already heated.
The RNC is moving to exploit the issue. It says Shackleford, a former Little Rock, Ark., mayor, is a registered federal lobbyist whose party post is exempt from Barack Obama's decree that shuts off the flow of lobbyist and PAC money to the DNC. The Republicans say Democratic party insiders can still serve as lobbyists. The RNC research department sent this statement out today:
"Shackleford's clients have included Allstate Insurance, FM Policy Focus, ARTEL, Hyundai Motor Co., Jacksonville Electric Authority, Kyocera Corp., Lyondel Chemical Company, Metro-Miami Action Plan Trust, Miami-Dade County (Fla.), NPR, Psychemedics Corporation, Quest Software, Sallie Mae, SBC Communications, and State Farm Insurance."