Third, Bill Clinton, the Democrats’ ace-in-the-hole campaign dynamo this election cycle, is the poster child for illegal campaign donations from foreign sources:
- As The Washington Post reported in 1997, John Huang, a Commerce Department official under Clinton, “attended dozens of briefings involving classified information, even as he maintained ties to the Lippo Group, the Indonesian conglomerate for which he had been head of U.S. operations.” The DNC ultimately returned nearly half of the money Huang raised, “determining that it was improperly raised or came from questionable donors, some of them from overseas.”
- Democratic Party fundraiser Johnny Chung pled guilty to a range of fundraising crimes, some of which gave Chinese businesses direct access to the White House.
- Indonesian businessman James Riady pled guilty to campaign finance violations after funneling money from foreign corporations into Clinton’s presidential campaigns.
- Charlie Trie raised $1.2 million for the DNC and the Clintons’ legal defense fund, and was indicted after it was discovered that much of what he raised was from illegal foreign sources.
How’s that for “foreign” money?
Fourth, in launching their attack, the president and his henchmen have veered into McCarthyite tactics. For example, when Bob Schieffer of CBS asked presidential advisor David Axelrod if he had any evidence that secret foreign funds were being used to influence the election, the response was chilling: “Do you have any evidence that it’s not, Bob?”
Vice President Joe Biden pressed the prove-you’re-innocent line of attack. “I challenge the Chamber of Commerce to tell us how much of the money they’re investing is from foreign sources,” Biden demanded.
“We accept the vice president’s challenge here and now, and are happy to provide our answer: Zero. As in, ‘Not a single cent,’” the Chamber’s Tom Collamore said in response.
Indeed, the allegation that the Chamber is relying on shadowy foreign sources to subvert democracy has not a shred of evidence to support it. The political watchdog FactCheck.org has traced the original claim to former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, the head of the Center for American Progress, who offered no substance whatsoever to back up his charge. Moreover, to the limited extent that the Chamber relies on foreign funding, which is kept separate from its political activities, those funds are raised legally and violate no election laws — a fact confirmed by that stalwart Republican ally, the New York Times.
No matter. The smear and the damage had already been done to a venerable organization that dares to stand up for free enterprise and smaller government—which puts the Chamber squarely at odds with this administration, which helps explain this administration’s thuggish attack.
Alan Dowd writes on politics and policy.
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