Monday, October 18, 2010

Assuming Innocence, Facts Optional

It's not just Rush Limbaugh anymore. Generally more sober and sensible members of the media have been parroting the "Democrats have no proof of their charge" accusation pertaining to evidence that the United States Chamber of Commerce has been applying contribution from foreign corporations to the funding of partisan political ads.

Now Charles Krauthammer has gotten into the act. Krauthammer, though a very (neo-) conservative columnist, has sometimes shown signs of thought. In 2008, for instance, he wrote "I'm not a global warming believer. I'm not a global warming denier. I'm a global warming agnostic," which would place him today on the far left of the Republican Party (and persona non grata, if today he were to say he's "agnostic" on anything).

Choosing to "resent an infallibly prescient scorecard of the best and worst of 2010," Krauthammmer selects for "most shameless attack campaign (national)":

President Obama's suggesting that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is secretly using foreign money to fund its campaign ads. There's not a shred of evidence that this is true. When Bob Schieffer asked David Axelrod for evidence, he responded "Well, do you have any evidence that it's not, Bob?"

It wasn't the fault of longtime journalist Schieffer, who rhetorically asked "If the only (chuckles) charge three weeks into the election that the Democrats have to make is that somehow this may or may not be foreign money coming into the campaign, is that the best you can do?" Axelrod could have said "I think the American people are more concerned than are you with foreign interests in India and the Middle East funding political campaigns so that politicians can send American jobs abroad." But he didn't.

Now, the media is enthralled, in denial of the facts, of accusing Democrats of lacking facts. So here are a few, according to the investigation of the Center for American Progress:

- Since 1994, according to a report by Campaign Money Watch, "184,000 jobs were lost to outsourcing in the 22 congressional districts in which the Chamber has spent $4.8 million on political ads."

- Chamber CEO Tom Donohue publicly has endorsed outsourcing and the organization (successfully) fought the Creating American Jobs and End Offshoring Act, which would have discouraged the jobs-killing practice.

- At least 84 foreign companies have donated a total of at least $885,000 to the Chambers' 501(c)(6) account.

- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which plans to spend $75 million this election cycle, could have designated its political action committee to receive the funds. However, PACS have significant disclosure requirements- and the organization's PAC as of October had raised only $161,000 and spent only $64,000.

- While organizations usually collect international funds through a 501(c)(3) account, which is prohibited from using them for political activities, the U.S. Chamber is channeling its money to a 501(c)(6) account, from which funds may be used for such purposes.

Notwithstanding CAP's claim, perhaps the United States Chamber of Commerce is not be diverting funds from abroad to political ads opposing candidates who want jobs to remain in the U.S.A. and support fair trade. And perhaps winter may not come to the Rockies this year.

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