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.Glenn Reynolds reminds us of the uninvestigated stories of how the Obama 2008 campaign deliberately set up a system where they wouldn't be able to stop donations from foreigners.
Unions and liberal groups are hardly cash poor this year in any case. The Campaign Media Analysis Group looked at the combined spending of candidates, their parties and outside groups and found that Democrats outspent Republicans $47.3 million to $40.8 million in a recent 60-day period.
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.
The strategy got a test drive in Minnesota earlier this year after Target Corporation donated $100,000 cash and $50,000 of in-kind contributions to an independent group that ran ads supporting the primary candidacy of Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. MoveOn.org accused the company of being anti-gay, organized a petition, and crafted a TV ad urging shoppers to boycott Target stores. Target made no further donations, and other companies that once showed an interest have since declined to contribute.
If they can't use that sort of intimidation to stop corporate giving to help Republicans, they'll try to use government regulators to shut down that opposition. And they hope that everyone will just ignore their own use of the same methods of funding their races. As John Hinderaker points out, one of the liberal outlets raising the alarm over supposed nefarious donations is the Center for American Progress, an independent group funded by unknown donors. When they do it, it's perfectly fine and above suspicion. But any group spending money to elect Republicans is clearly nefarious and worth federal investigations. It's quite a slippery approach to freedom of speech.
Timothy Carney has more on Obama's rank hypocrisy.
Obama likes to pretend he's running against greedy financial-industry millionaires, but look down the list of top donors in September, and you'll see partners and managers of hedge funds and private equity firms like Grosvenor Capital Management, Saturn Asset Management, and Chicago's Delaware Street Capital all giving the DNC the maximum. Other hedge-fund donors who give the max come from Bain Capital and the Tudor Investment Corporation....
Another deflection attempt by Democrats is to point to outside-group spending. This line of rhetoric deserves a response, too.
First, Barack Obama knows about outside spending by special interests: In 2008, the Service Employees International Union spent $27 million in independent expenditures to help Obama, while the United Auto Workers shelled out $4.9 million.
And this election, outside groups are spending big to save the Democratic majority, too. Jon Ward at the Daily Caller reported that three big labor unions will spend about $145 million to help Democrats this year, while EMILY's List and MoveOn.org plan to spend about $75 million.
Those expenditures bring pro-Democratic outside spending within striking distance of pro-Republican outside spending. Throw in the edge the official Democratic committees enjoy over the GOP committees, and you've got parity.
Turns out both parties are raising or benefiting from many millions of dollars from special interests and the wealthy. Democrats' poverty, it turns out, is mostly in poll numbers.