The White House and DNC attacks against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for daring to criticize the Administration over policy matters have failed miserably. With no evidence at all — just the bugaboo of “foreign money” – they accused the Chamber of wrongdoing, implying criminal violations and then demanding the Chamber prove itself innocent.
Failing to restrict political speech through passage of the unconstitutional DISCLOSE Act, the partisans turned from legislation to intimidation. That decision harmed public discourse and showed the Obama Administration willing to use the Office of the Presidency for personalized, demagogic attacks.
The Chamber has ably defended itself, and all but the most partisan of media outlets have found the political charges to be overheated, at best. The New York Times cut the White House’s ground of under it in the Oct. 8 report, “Topic of Foreign Money in U.S. Races Hits Hustings“:
The issue of the chamber’s funding first gained notice this week when ThinkProgress, a blog affiliated with the Center for American Progress, an influential liberal advocacy group, posted a lengthy piece with the headline “Exclusive: Foreign-Funded ‘U.S.’ Chamber of Commerce Running Partisan Attack Ads.”
The piece detailed the chamber’s overseas memberships, but it provided no evidence that the money generated overseas had been used in United States campaigns. Still, liberal groups like MoveOn.org pounced on the allegations, resulting in protests at the chamber’s offices, a demand for a federal investigation by Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, and ultimately the remarks by Mr. Obama himself.
White House officials acknowledged Friday that they had no specific evidence to indicate that the chamber had used money from foreign entities to finance political attack ads.
Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’s “Face the Nation,” in a response to White House official David Axelrod’s accusations: “I guess I would put it this way. If– if– if the only charge, three weeks into the election that the Democrats can make is that there’s somehow this may or may not be foreign money coming into the campaign, is that the best you can do?”
Rich Lowry, editor of The National Review, commented in his column, “Obama’s McCarthyite Moment“:
It should be taken as an axiom of political life that if your argument is about the other side’s advertisements, you’re losing. If your argument is about who’s funding the other side’s advertisements, you’re losing badly. And if your argument is about how foreigners might — lack of evidence notwithstanding — be secretly funneling cash into the other side’s advertisements, you’re losing in a historic landslide.
The Chamber has posted numerous times refuing the Center for American Progress’ accusations and the subsequent partisan efforts to spread the calumny. From the ChamberPost:
- The Tide Turns as a Smear Backfires
- And the Answer Is…
- The WaPo – Behind “The Times”
- In Defense of the Chamber, From an Unlikely Source
- Swift Reaction as Commentators Condemn Chamber Smear
- No Wonder They Want to Change the Conversation
- The Anti-Business Red Herring