Paul L. Caron

Monday, October 11, 2010

WSJ: Democrats Unleash IRS & DOJ on Donors to Their Political Opponents

Wall Street Journal editorial, Shutting Up Business: Democrats Unleash the IRS and Justice on Donors to Their Political Opponents:

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. ...

Chairman Max Baucus of the powerful Senate Finance Committee got the threats going last month when he asked IRS 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. ... 

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." ...

Democrats claim only to favor "disclosure" of donors, but their legal intimidation attempts are the best argument against disclosure. Liberals want the names of business donors made public so they can become targets of vilification with the goal of intimidating them into silence. A CEO or corporate board is likely to think twice about contributing to a campaign fund if the IRS or prosecutors might come calling. If Democrats can reduce business donations in the next three weeks, they can limit the number of GOP challengers with a chance to win and reduce Democratic Congressional losses. ...

Faced with electoral repudiation as the public turns against their agenda, Democrats are unleashing government power to silence their political opponents. Instead of piling on, the press corps ought to blow the whistle on this attempt to stifle political speech. This is one more liberal abuse of power that voters should consider as they head to the polls.

Update:, Foreign Money? Really? Democrats Peddle an Unproven Claim:

Democrats, from President Barack Obama on down, are trying to turn an evidence-free allegation into a major campaign theme, claiming that foreign corporations are "stealing our democracy" with secret, illegal contributions funneled through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It’s a claim with little basis in fact.

  • The Democratic National Committee released a TV ad over the weekend claiming: "It appears they’ve even taken secret foreign money to influence our elections."
  • President Obama said last week that "one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign sources."
  • The liberal group is claiming, without any qualification, that "[f]oreign corporations are funding some of the $75 million the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending to defeat Democrats."

The chamber says it does receive money from foreign sources, but that it amounts to only a small fraction of the chamber’s $200 million budget. The chamber says none of the foreign money is used in its ads, and no evidence has been produced to show otherwise. Federal Election Commission opinions state that organizations taking in foreign money may make political donations legally, so long as they have "a reasonable accounting method" to keep foreign money separate and have enough money from U.S. sources to cover the donations.

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Hmm, somebody should ask Obama what the "I" in SEIU stands for.

Posted by: AJ | Oct 12, 2010 8:55:39 PM

liberals will always tell you what they will do or are doing if you simply listen to what they accuse others of ...

Posted by: Jeff | Oct 12, 2010 10:12:26 AM

Foreign companies have a legitimate interest in the business environment of the U.S. given the presence of their operations here. Their concerns are the same as those of businesses local to the U.S. They cannot belong to the CoC without paying dues. Given the acceptance of their dues, the CoC must then stop funding any political ads to satisfy the democrats or people like Kyle. Or they can support democrat candidates and then the practice becomes perfectly acceptable, even to Kyle.

Posted by: willis | Oct 12, 2010 9:21:41 AM

The only way to prove that they used foreign money in violation of the law, wouldn't you have to prove that they didn't bring in sufficient domestic funding to cover their campaign spending. I doubt that can be proven.

That's why Obama's failure to vet $200 million of donations in 2008 were more despicable. He basically took donations below the $200 reporting limit under phony names using credit cards used by multiple donors, failing to collect information that would show whether the money was legal flouts the campaign financing laws. But campaign finance regulations are for chumps if you're a Democrat. The evasion of the laws has ACORN written all over it.

Posted by: flataffect | Oct 12, 2010 7:27:51 AM

The ethics of this administration, their constant tendency to add yet another enemy of the week, and their willingness to use government power to silence those enemies, reminds me of Richard Nixon. The only difference is I suspect Obama will make sure he is not taped, or if he is, the tapes are burned.

Posted by: richard40 | Oct 12, 2010 7:25:35 AM

This is one more nail in the coffin of impeachment and,
one more mile towards a Revolution before 2012.
Using the instruments of government to silence both
business and the people is a communist ploy.

Posted by: warlord | Oct 12, 2010 6:59:51 AM


@ Kyle B.

It's called "accounting". Amazingly enough if you use "accounting" and "journals" you can actually segregate money from different sources into different "accounts" and determine where money goes, where money is drawn from for different expenditures and even *gasp* understand the flow of money for an organization.

Next up: I instruct Kyle B. on this new fangled thing called "computers" and "computerized accounting".

Posted by: memomachine | Oct 12, 2010 6:31:13 AM

Very funny. The AFL-CIO has foreign affiliates that pay them dues, yet Barack and his allies show a complete lack of interest. It's alright, though, the investigations of these creeps will commence in January.

Posted by: J. Knight | Oct 12, 2010 6:11:42 AM

The CoC's use of shady foreign money is, like Obama's vaunted intellectual brilliance, an accusation without anything that remotely resembles proof.

Considering Obama's '08 online donor shenanigans, it is a brazen--if not desperate--charge. Either Obama and the Democrats know something nobody else knows about the makeup of the next Congress, or they are playing an extremely reckless game.

Posted by: Otis B. driftwood | Oct 12, 2010 5:52:25 AM

Kyle, where were you when O! disabled his verification software in 2008 allowing donations under false names, false addresses, and no limit checking. Note that Hamas ran two phone banks to raise money for our "Christian President".

If our election laws meant anything he would have been disqualified and frog-marched out of the White House.

Posted by: SDN | Oct 12, 2010 5:03:39 AM

The Chamber of Commerce segregates the money. They do, in fact, have more than one bank account and more than one fund. Now, let's talk about the dues of union members being used against their wishes to promote Democrats and socialism and to enrich union bosses.

Of course, you didn't hear complaints from the Democrats about foreign contributions when Bill Clinton was raising all sorts of illegal money from the Chinese, with the help of Johnny Chung, and even selling our missile guidance technology to the Chinese in exchange for donations, so that their ICBMs aimed at us would be more accurate.

Posted by: Woody | Oct 11, 2010 8:47:10 PM

Given that money is fungible, there's really no way to say that foreign money is or isn't going to these campaigns. I'm not agreeing with the law, the application thereof, or the policy, but if the Chamber accepts foreign money, then foreign money is in play. Whether that should be illegal, or what slippery slope that may lead to, I leave it to others to discern.

Posted by: Kyle B. | Oct 11, 2010 11:57:10 AM