The Campaign Spot

So Foreign Money to Political Candidates Is Cool Now, Huh?

Back in 2010, President Barack Obama and the Democrats were extremely upset about the possibility that foreign money could end up in the hands of Americans attempting to influence the outcome of the midterm elections:

Democrats, from President Barack Obama on down, are trying to turn an evidence-free allegation into a major campaign theme, claiming that foreign corporations are “stealing our democracy” with secret, illegal contributions funneled through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

It’s a claim with little basis in fact.

The Democratic National Committee released a TV ad over the weekend claiming: “It appears they’ve even taken secret foreign money to influence our elections.”

President Obama said last week that “one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign sources.”

The liberal group MoveOn.org is claiming, without any qualification, that “[f]oreign corporations are funding some of the $75 million the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending to defeat Democrats.”

The chamber says it does receive money from foreign sources, but that it amounts to only a small fraction of the chamber’s $200 million budget. The chamber says none of the foreign money is used in its ads, and no evidence has been produced to show otherwise.

The news today:

The Clinton Foundation has dropped its self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments and is winning contributions at an accelerating rate, raising ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency.

Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline.

For those who want to trot out the “it’s just the Clinton Foundation, it’s not Hillary Clinton herself” excuse…

Since leaving the State Department in early 2013, Mrs. Clinton officially joined the foundation, which changed its name to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, and has become a prodigious fundraiser as the foundation launched a $250 million endowment campaign, officials said. A representative for Hillary Clinton referred all questions to the Clinton Foundation.

A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation said the charity has a need to raise money for its many projects, which aim to do such things as improve education, health care and the environment around the world. He also said that donors go through a vigorous vetting process.

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