Jake Tapper and Devin Dwyer of ABC also pooh-poohed the story:
“We have no idea if the Chamber or any 501(c) organization as defined by the IRS code, is taking foreign money for the purposes of playing politics,” said Dave Levinthal of the Center for Responsive Politics. “Saying that that foreign money is actually going toward attack ads or any type of messaging in the political realm, you just don’t know. It’s speculation and nothing more.”
ThinkProgress’s Chamber story talks about foreign money in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which the Chamber says goes to its international division. Meanwhile, the Chamber is spending $75 million on the elections this year. ThinkProgress raises the whole “money is fungible” thing to criticize the Chamber for allegedly mixing that international money in its general fund.
But the fungible thing goes two ways. Even if the Chamber kept the foreign money strictly segregated in an overseas account, it would still be fungible to the Chamber in the U.S. The key question is whether the amount of (apparently minimal) foreign money raised goes to foreign uses. But I don’t see any evidence that that’s not the case.
The pity of this nonstory is that there are plenty of good reasons—and good journalistic ones—to question the role of corporate money in campaigns, especially this year, in the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. The opacity of the system allows corporations to flood money into political ads without their names attached. Disclosure is sorely needed, and the press ought to fight for it.
It’s beyond me why you have to stretch and/or invent a “story” to make Big Business look bad. Hello, corrupt drug companies. Howdy, eight-figure Wall Street bonuses. Bye bye, outsourced jobs.
And somebody in the press might oughta point out that at the same time the Obama administration is mau-mauing the Chamber, it’s bending over backwards to smooth out that whole foreclosure fraud thing the Chamber’s biggest members have been perpetrating on a massive scale. Guess who’s leading the charge on that? David Axelrod—on the same show where he tried to smear the group.