Is foreign money influencing our elections?

10/14/10 Robert Lorei
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Last week Think Progress reported how foreign money could be going into accounts that are used to run political ads that influence domestic elections within the US. Groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's American Crossroads are spending more than $200 million to run ads in dozens of key races across the country, yet these groups do not have to disclose who their donors are. Rove and the Chamber deny any wrongdoing.

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What is the Chamber's agenda?

hat is the Chamber of Commerce? Is it an affiliation of local businesses grouped under a single heading that makes it easier for members to network with each other? Until recently that was my impression. Sure, there was some national board of directors that lobbied Congress for pro-business legislation much the same way that unions did for labor and they seemed to endorse Republican candidates the same way unions did for Democrats. But I think that's what the Chamber's marketing strategy wanted me to believe. This is testimony to Congress that a Huffington Post story reported: "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbied for the creation of the TARP program and continues to support efforts to improve the program to ensure its success. With banks not lending, businesses lost the liquidity needed to function, while simultaneously, consumer spending, which makes up 70% of our economy, was shrinking at an historic rate. Simply put, the financial crisis had driven the United States to its worst economic predicament since the Great Depression. In order for businesses to function and for an economic recovery to take hold, the financial services sector needed immediate shoring up and that vehicle was TARP. ...The TARP program has had its problems, but a year later we can say that an outright collapse was avoided, the financial sector is stabilizing, and the first signs are appearing that an economic recovery is taking hold." So when I see the Chamber blasting Obama for the deficit, or blasting Democrats in general, I have to wonder how honest is the Chamber in it's opinions? I'm greatful to the reporting of ThinkProgress in exposing the foreign money pouring into the Chamber to sway US elections. I think it puts a lie on the facade that the Chamber is a bunch of local businesses chowing down lunch at the local Beef O'Brady. Like it or not, the local Chambers are responsible for giving cover to the US Chambers misleading agenda. They are exporting jobs and production that should be given to their local affiliates and the absence of protest from local Chambers is deafening.