Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 22, 2010
POLITICS: More Of That Delicious Foreign Money

As noted below, the Democrats' fumfer about outside money is ludicrous on its face, given the help they get from their union allies and the corporate money that helped Obama two years ago. Another avenue of attack is their claim that the GOP is being helped by foreign money, mainly on the theory that outside corporate groups get money from US subsidiaries of foreign companies - but it turns out that 49 of the 59 Democratic Senators have taken PAC money from subsidiaries of foreign companies. Three Senators now up for re-election - Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray and Kirsten Gillibrand - have each accepted over $100,000 from subdiaries of foreign companies. In Illinois, Alexi Giannoulias accused Mark Kirk of "economic treason" over a fundraiser in China...but went and held his own fundraiser in Canada. (And this is on top of the fact that the Obama campaign in 2008 deliberately removed safeguards against accepting donations by credit card from foreign nationals.)

So much for that argument.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:57 PM | Politics 2010 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

They have nothing dude.....nothing

Posted by: dch at October 22, 2010 10:10 PM

Crank,

Just because they're hypocrites doesn't mean they're wrong. The influx of foreign money into American electoral politics is a serious problem. Sure, it may be the Democrats who are complaining the loudest, and they may be just as guilty if not more so than Republicans of taking foreign money. If anything, though, that shows how big of a problem it is, not that the problem doesn't exist.

One of the basic problems that the influence money has on elections is that it creates a race to the bottom: if one side is taking money, so too does the other side. If corporations and/or foreign corporations are donating to the Republicans, how realistic is it for us to expect the Democrats to lay off? Literally and figuratively, they can't afford to. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming Republicans or exonerating Democrats. Just trying to illustrate the point that if one side does, the other side must follow when it comes to money and electoral politics.

I'm not some crazy nut who thinks that we need to ban all political contributions, whether by individuals or corporations. There's a legitimate free speech interest in making them. But money does have a "corrupting" (I use that term loosely; I don't mean bribery per se, but rather a distortion of the process) influence on the political process that I think can't really be denied. The question is how to reconcile those two interests. I don't think there's any easy answers here, and I'm really not sure how to balance the free speech rights against the state's legitiamte interest in "purifying" elections. But I think it misplaced to suggest it's not a problem because Democrats do it, too. That hypocrisy doesn't undermine the Democrats point. If anything, it shows just how serious of an issue this is.

Rich

Posted by: Rich at October 25, 2010 10:40 AM
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