Monday, October 11, 2010

The Errol of His Ways

In yesterday's NY Daily News, columnist Errol Louis-relying on an unsubstantiated charge from a left wing web site-slammed the US Chamber of Commerce for using foreign money to help fund its election cycle ads: "ThinkProgress has slammed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for raising funds from foreign businesses and businessmen at the same time it has promised to buy $75 million worth of attack ads to help elect Republicans on Nov. 2."

Well, perhaps Louis submitted his piece before the following NY Times story thoroughly debunked the web site's claims: "But a closer examination shows that there is little evidence that what the chamber does in collecting overseas dues is improper or even unusual, according to both liberal and conservative election-law lawyers and campaign finance documents. In fact, the controversy over the Chamber of Commerce financing may say more about the Washington spin cycle — where an Internet blog posting can be quickly picked up by like-minded groups and become political fodder for the president himself — than it does about the vagaries of campaign finance."

Ouch! From the Times, no less, the paper that has made Citizen's United a cause célèbre. Louis also fails to mention that there are plenty of other entities that are international in scope-the SEIU for one-that also gets dues or other sources of foreign money and also involve themselves in election advocacy ads.

But the most egregious admission, in our view, is the still unexamined reception by the 2008 Obama campaign of foreign credit card donations: "The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been and may still be accepting credit-card and prepaid-card contributions from overseas. It has done so in a way that may very likely prevent it from refunding the contributions to “donors,” many of whom may have had their credit cards used without their consent. It’s virtually impossible that the system for accepting card contributions was inadvertently set up without adequate controls, and almost certain that existing controls were instead deliberately disabled to create untraceability. Finally, it is likely that the total dollar amounts involved run in millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars."

Now these were direct donations to the candidate himself-and that makes his use of the Chamber of Commerce as a bogeyman particularly offensive-not to mention hypocritical. The Chamber is being singled out in this election cycle precisely because of the need that Democrats have to change the subject-away from their record, and on to nefarious straw men that they hope will help diffuse the current high level of voter dissatisfaction. Errol Louis, however, should have been more circumspect about swallowing whole the tendentious suppositions of partisans.


Over at Legal Insurrection, Professor Jacobson goes after the president for his blatant hypocrisy-and links the old Credance Clearwater Revival ditty, "Before You Accuse Me, Take a Look at Yourself." Read the whole thing.