11.30.2010 0

NYT Attributes GOP Election Victory to Shady Anonymous Donors, Dismisses Tea Party Factor

  • On: 12/02/2010 10:03:06
  • In: Elections



    By Kevin Mooney

    Republican operatives should be credited and recognized for their aggressive fundraising efforts, shrewd communication tactics and for cultivating an alliance with “outside interests” and corporate benefactors. But the party’s renewed commitment to constitutional limited government had very little bearing on the 2010 election returns, according to the New York Times.

    This is the central message of a recent New York Times post-election report that somersaults away from acknowledging the powerful influence Tea Party activists had on independent voters. While it is evident from the election returns and opinions polls that the public favors tighter restraints on federal power, the newspaper takes care to sidestep any discussion of the ideological. Instead, the report peddles alternative explanations for the 2010 results that fixate on corporate interests that supposedly have impure motives and shady political entities tied with Karl Rove, the former political advisor President George W. Bush.

    There’s a disconnect here because the article concedes that Democrats by and large also raised more money than their Republican counterparts thanks to organized labor and other left leaning pressure groups.

    “The White House struggled to keep Democrats in line, with a misplaced confidence in the power of the coalition that propelled Mr. Obama into office,” the report says. “Republicans capitalized on backlash to the ambitious agenda Mr. Obama and his party pursued, which fueled unrestricted and often anonymous contributions to conservative groups, some advised by a nemesis Democrats thought they had shaken, Karl Rove.”

    The report continued, “That money so strengthened the Republican assault across the country that an exasperated Democratic Party strategist likened it to `nuclear Whac-a-Mole.’ Most of all, Republican leaders had the foresight to imagine the possibility of winning again. Even now, they believe they could have taken back the Senate if they had just managed to block at least two Tea Party candidates who proved unelectable.”

    This assessment has to be balanced against the grass roots efforts that ultimately propelled other Republican candidates with strong libertarian leanings to victory. Recall, that the Times (and other press organs) were highly dismissive of Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida. Both candidates challenged the elite establishments of their own parties and connected with an antagonized electorate opposed to the Democratic Party’s spending schemes. Both candidates persevered through negative press coverage with considerable tea party support.

    It should also be noted that the liberal media’s antipathy toward the Citizens United Supreme Court decision expanding First Amendment freedoms is lurking behind the report. On the question of anonymous donations and the relationship between corporations and the Republican Party, some key facts are in order.

    While President Obama has accused the Chamber of Commerce of accepting foreign donations to influence the elections, which would be a violation of the law, his statement is provably false.

    “You don’t know,” Obama told a Philadelphia rally for Joe Sestak, the defeated Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. “It could even be foreign-owned corporations. You don’t know because they don’t have to disclose.”

    Only, they do have to disclose. Obama’s statement is actually provably false. You see, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce actually operates a political action committee, which is required to file reports with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).

    You can read the U.S. Chamber PAC’s filings for yourself at http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/cancomsrs/?_10+C00082040.

    Additionally, the PAC’s “secret” donor lists are at http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_ind/2009_C00082040 and http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_rcvd/2009_C00082040. These are all FEC filings. PAC’s are already required to disclose donors under federal law.

    In fact, this is a part of the Chamber that is expressly engaged in electioneering, subject to full disclosure.

    While it is true that the Chamber’s 501(c)6 filings are not public, that does not mean such disclosures do not exist. Many of them actually should already be available to the Obama Administration. How?

    “Any organization, whether or not it engages in electioneering must file tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which include who donates,” Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson recently explained

    Organizations must file form 990’s, which include Schedule B’s for disclosing donations over specified amounts depending on the type of organization. Minimum net donations which must be included in the forms can range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the group.

    If the Obama Administration has reason to believe that the Chamber — or any other organization — is using foreign donations to engage in electioneering, it could have the IRS simply conduct an audit, which would quickly get to the truth of the matter.

    The obsession with anonymous donors who are not so anonymous is served up to distract from the ideological factors that collapsed the Democratic majority in the House and eroded its position in the Senate. That’s the story.

    Kevin Mooney is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau and the Executive Editor of TimesCheck.com.

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