The Democrats' Own 'Foreign' Money Problem

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The "foreign" money wars have taken a new turn this week following a new investigation by the Center for Responsive Politics in The Hill newspaper. Weeks ago, Democrats claimed the GOP was benefiting from foreign money via the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and foreign corporations. While that debate continues, The Hill has found that Democrats have a "foreign" money problem of their own:

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate criticizing GOP groups for allegedly funneling foreign money into campaign ads have seen their party raise more than $1 million from political action committees affiliated with foreign companies.

House and Senate Democrats have received approximately $1.02 million this cycle from such PACs, according to an analysis compiled for The Hill by the Center for Responsive Politics. House and Senate GOP leaders have taken almost $510,000 from PACs on the same list.

So what's the takeaway? Here's what's buzzing in the blogosphere

While these donations were rounded up from American citizens, PACs affiliated with the U.S. subsidiaries of multinational corporations headquartered abroad, presumably, would conduct their political activities for the welfare of both the subsidiary and the foreign-headquartered parent. So no, the money itself is not "foreign," but the way it's being spent could be...

The significance here is not so much the impact of the money, but the stain it allegedly leaves and the "hypocrisy" Republicans have pointed to in calling attention to this story today. About that hypocrisy: we're in murky waters here when it comes to the "foreign"-ness of all this money, on both sides.
  • It's Hypocritical But Not Illegal, writes Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: "This isn’t illegal.  The money comes from American employees of the foreign corporations.  But the companies control the PACs, and their contributions to political parties and campaigns 'is about as close as you can get' to foreign-based money flowing into campaigns, as the Center for Responsive Politics notes."
  • Republicans Are Still More at Fault, writes Prairie Weather: "The Hill presents this as a counter to the attack on Republicans for accepting foreign influence and money," he writes. "Republican are calling that attack hypocritical, looking for equivalency between Republican and Democratic funding sources.  That's a stretch." He cites Dave Levinthal at the Center for Responsive Politics who says "This is not foreign money per-se, but these PACs are certainly populated by people who work for foreign companies." According to Prairie Weather, "'Not foreign money per se' seems to be the closer.'"
  • The Tables Have Turned, writes Marc Thiessen at The Washington Post: "Now it's time for the Democrats to start answering the same charges that they leveled against the Chamber and American Crossroads with such abandon. Is organized labor using foreign money to elect Democrats this November? To paraphrase the president, they could be -- we just don't know. But if Republicans win two weeks from now, and take control of the investigative committees of Congress, we may soon find out. "

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.