The Wall Street Journal reports on a despicable tactic shameless Democrat politicos are now using on donors to their political opposition:
If at first you don’t succeed, get some friends in high places to shut your opponents up. That’s the latest Washington power play, as Democrats and liberals attack the Chamber of Commerce and independent spending groups in an attempt to stop businesses from participating in politics.
Since the Supreme Court’s January decision in Citizens United v. FEC, Democrats in Congress have been trying to pass legislation to repeal the First Amendment for business, though not for unions. Having failed on that score, they’re now turning to legal and political threats. Funny how all of this outrage never surfaced when the likes of Peter Lewis of Progressive insurance and George Soros helped to make Democrats financially dominant in 2006 and 2008.
Chairman Max Baucus of the powerful Senate Finance Committee got the threats going last month when he asked Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman to investigate if certain tax exempt 501(c) groups had violated the law by engaging in too much political campaign activity. Lest there be any confusion about his targets, the Montana Democrat flagged articles focused on GOP-leaning groups, including Americans for Job Security and American Crossroads.
Mr. Baucus was seconded last week by the ostensibly nonpartisan campaign reform groups Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, which asked the IRS to investigate whether Crossroads is spending too much money on campaigns. Those two outfits swallowed their referee whistle in the last two campaign cycles, but they’re all worked up now that Republicans might win more seats. Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) affiliate of American Crossroads supported by Karl Rove, is a target because it has spent millions already in this election cycle.
Last Tuesday, the liberal blog ThinkProgress, run by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had collected some $300,000 in annual dues from foreign companies. Since the money went into the Chamber’s general fund, the allegation is that it could have been used to pay for political ads, which would violate a ban on foreign companies participating in American elections. The Chamber says it uses no foreign money for its political activities and goes to great lengths to raise separate funds for political purposes.
That didn’t stop President Obama from raising the issue in a Maryland speech last week, saying that “groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections.” Within hours of the ThinkProgress report, the bully boys at MoveOn.org asked the Department of Justice to launch a criminal investigation of the Chamber. In a letter to the Federal Election Commission, Minnesota Senator Al Franken expressed his profound concern that “foreign corporations are indirectly spending significant sums to influence American elections through third-party groups.” From the man who stole his Senate election in a dubious recount, this is rich.
Even Mr. Franken admits in his letter that the Chamber’s commingling of funds in its general accounts is not “per se illegal,” but apparently he thinks it’s fine to unleash federal investigators because the Chamber cash might contribute to the defeat of fellow Democrats.
The outrage over the Chamber is especially amusing considering the role of foreigners in U.S. labor unions. According to the Center for Competitive Politics, close to half of the unions that are members of the AFL-CIO are international. One man’s corporate commingling is another’s union dues.
Of course, we saw this one coming for a while now, so it’s hardly shocking – but it’s still something to be greatly concerned about nevertheless.
If this blatant abuse of power weren’t so disturbing, I might actually find myself laughing out loud over the phony “concern” the Dems have on the issue of whether or not “foreign money” given to the Chamber is being used for campaign donations, when you consider that our Fundraisier in Chief’s own website during his 2008 campaign for President essentially encouraged foreign donations, as my co-blogger noted in this post yesterday, and as I wrote about at the time it was happening (more here – remember “Doodad Pro“?). The Obama website was set up specifically to make it easier via a lax verification process for anyone here or overseas, citizen or not, to contribute – and reporting requirements for those contribute under $200 are very relaxed, and names do not have to be disclosed by campaigns. After several government watchdog groups asked both campaigns to release more info on those donors, McCain actually went on record in 2008 as saying he would be willling to provide more details on where the $200 donations to his campaign were coming from but, as Jake Tapper wrote at the time, the Obama campaign – promising transparency coast to coast – “rejected the request.”
This is the “transparency” Obama/Pelosi/Reid promised the American people in both 2006 and 2008 … transparent hypocrisy, that is.
The year of the Desperate Democrats continues. November 2nd cannot get here soon enough.
Update: FactCheck examines ObamaCo’s claims about the Chamber of Commerce’s foreign money, and finds them lacking.