According to Washington Democrats and their allies, the GOP has been overrun by foreign agents, surely clad in trench coats, dark sunglasses, and black wingtips — all the better for stashing microfilm. These international interlopers supposedly are channeling rivers of overseas cash into attack ads designed to end the Obama Era and restore the Dark Ages that prevailed before the advent of Hope and Change.
Seemingly referring to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, President Obama said earlier this month that that “one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign sources.” According to a Democratic National Committee TV commercial, “It appears they’ve even taken secret foreign money to influence our elections.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) complained
about “all of this money that is pouring in from special interests, unidentified, unlimited money from any source, including foreign sources.”
“No other country on earth would tolerate this,” the United Steelworkers’ international president, Leo W. Gerard, told MSNBC. “America is not for sale to the Chamber of Commerce or foreign corporations.”
Yes, Democrats are obsessed with the money that the Chamber receives from its foreign branches, such as the American Chamber of Commerce in Buenos Aires, or AmCham Argentina for short.
The Chamber’s website explains how AmChams work: “AmChams are independent organizations, created to represent American companies in overseas markets, and they do not fund U.S. Chamber political programs. Collectively, AmChams pay nominal dues to the Chamber — approximately $100,000 total across all 115 AmChams. Under our budgeting system, the nominal funds received from AmChams and business councils are used to support our international programs.”
(Full disclosure: I have been a guest at U.S. Chamber events and was compensated for organizing a Chamber outreach function to discuss public-policy issues.)
So, this hubbub revolves around $100,000? How much influence can one or more foreigners purchase for $100,000, given the Chamber’s $200 million operating budget?
Moreover, according to OpenSecrets.org, in 2008, the Chamber donated $258,907 directly to federal-level candidates, parties, and PACs. Republicans got $177,576 (68.6 percent) of this money.
But wait. The remaining $81,331 (31.4 percent) went to Democrats. Are they tainted by this dirty foreign cash? If so, how soon will they give it back? If they don’t give it back, is that because they are magically immune from influence peddling?
Democratic bellyaching about an alleged foreign invasion of the GOP is comical when viewed alongside to Democratic insouciance about the foreign cash and in-kind services given to them and their allies. For starters, Democrats are up to their scalps in union contributions that are far more “soiled” with foreign fingerprints than are the U.S. Chamber’s donations.