Is the US Chamber of Commerce Soliciting Foreign Funding?

A vibrant rally took place outside the Chamber of Commerce yesterday, after Lee Fang with Think Progress uncovered foreign funding is being channeled into the Chamber. Naturally enough, this money can then be used in the name of conservative candidates in attack ads against Democrats, like Jack Conway in Kentucky or Robin Carnahan in Missouri (according to Lee Fang).

rally at Chamber of Commerce

A Supreme Court decision last January, the Citizens United case, eases the way for corporations and unions to influence elections through campaign advertising. Travis Ridout, who is on the Wesleyan Media Project, says in a recent report: “Surely, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which opened the door to unlimited corporate and union donations to groups airing political ads, has contributed to the overall increase in spending.”

Lee Fang with Think Progress, through his investigations, has uncovered at least $300,000 in foreign money from two countries (Bahrain and India), that is being funneled into a general chamber pot, called a 501(c)(6). The Chamber has internal fundraising departments, known as “Business Councils,” which have been welcoming foreign-owned corporations to make an application and wire money to this 501(c)(6) account.

Last night Lee Fang spoke with Keith Olbermann, and made this statement. “Well, here’s what we know: They’re spending an unprecedented $75 million in attack ads, basically. They’re going to foreign businesses and foreign individuals saying, you know, if you send us checks, you’ll have a voice in American public policy debates.”

Fang further expressed that the Chamber doesn’t have to disclose where they are getting the money, nor are they willing to provide any sort of documentation. The odd thing is that under federal law the Chamber is not obligated to disclose any details regarding their sources of campaign spending. This is wrong!

To think that our midterm elections are being manipulated by foreign money is the scariest thing I’ve ever heard. Much of this needs more definitive proof, but it looks like this proof will be difficult to get, since it’s perfectly legal for the Chamber to hide their sources of funding.

But why would, say China or India want to back Arch-Conservatives in the U.S., like Rand Paul or Sharron Angle? The answer is simple: these TeaBaggers don’t mind exporting American jobs to other countries, no matter what their attitude is towards the U.S.. This is unimpeded free-trade, without government intervention, so that makes it cool. How UNAMERICAN is that?