Democratic congressional campaign strategists evidently think they've found an effective attack on GOP Senate candidates like former Rep. Rob Portman, R-OH, citing the fact he is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which accepts contributions from foreign interests.
According to The Hill:
“Endangered Democrats in several key Senate races are seizing on what they say is evidence that foreign interests are helping fuel their opponents' campaigns.
“Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) and Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) have blasted their opponents for benefiting from campaign spending by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which accepts foreign contributions to its general treasury fund.
“The criticism is part of a broader Democratic strategy, outlined by White House political strategist David Axelrod in a July meeting with Senate Democrats, to paint Republicans as the defenders of corporate special interests.”
Apparently Axelrod didn't think this one through quite enough. If he had, he would have thought twice about raising the issue of foreign influences on U.S. elections. Take Government Motors, known before its takeover by President Obama in 2009 as “General Motors.” And let's not forget, the governments of Canada and its province, Ontario, also own big chunks of GM.
Despite being controlled by these three governments, GM has a very active political action committee, which has contributed in excess of $45,000 to Senate and House candidates, divided almost equally between Democrats and Republicans. Among the Democrats accepting GM contributions are Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Kloubachar of Minnesota, Charles Schumer of New York, Debbie Stebenow of Michigan, and Ron Wyden of Oregon.
Such partisan balance in PAC contributions is fine, but, as Pajamas Media's Tom Blumer recently reported:
“Despite taxpayers’ majority stake, GM has revived its PAC and has collected and distributed money from its employees to advance the company’s interests. Those interests, and the politicians and organizations which have benefited and will benefit, are, according to the company’s 'Political Contributions and Expenditures Policy,' determined 'by a Steering Committee and a separate Campaign Selection Committee appointed by the Chief Executive Officer of GM' — overseen by car czar and Mao admirer Ron Bloom ('We know that the free market is nonsense. … We kind of agree with Mao, that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun') and his clan.”
Mao-admiring Bloom, by the way, is a former SEIU union guy with Wall Street training and experience that includes a stint at the Lazard Freres investment management firm and his creation, with Lazard partner Eugene Keilin, of Keilin and Bloom, which specialized in representing unions, most notably the United Steel Workers, in corporate restructurings.
But there is even more to the Government Motors connection of interest here than its PAC. GM has a major presence in China where its Buick brand is among the best-selling marques and is the source of significant revenue. To get and keep its strong sales position in China, GM had to make numerous concessions.
So Democrats are accepting campaign contributions from a corporation that is controlled by the U.S. government and which is directly and indirectly influenced by three foreign governments. Are we going to hear demands from Democratic strategists for receipients of GM PAC money to give it back?
Here at The Examiner, we aren't exactly holding our breath for that to happen. Instead, we are asking all recipients, Democrats and Republicans alike, if they are returning GM PAC money and if not, why not.
And one more thing: Lots of major environmental groups have income from foreign interests and it's not exactly unknown for big U.S. unions to have over-lapping funding and interests with unions in foreign countries. Do the Democrats really want to make foreign influences on U.S. elections a campaign issue?