When the New York Times punctures a White House meme, it can reasonably be considered a flop. Last week, Barack Obama himself accused the Chamber of Commerce of using foreign money to push its domestic political activism, which would violate election law. Unfortunately, as the Times reports, the White House had absolutely no evidence of any wrongdoing. And Obama failed to mention that plenty of groups on the Left, especially labor unions, raise money outside the US as well.
Now the White House is trying to step back from their earlier accusations of illegality, but they’re still desperately trying to hang onto the line of attack:
White House officials acknowledged Friday that they had no specific evidence to indicate that the chamber had used money from foreign entities to finance political attack ads.
“The president was not suggesting any illegality,” Bob Bauer, the White House counsel, said. Instead, he said Mr. Obama’s reference to the chamber was meant to draw attention to the inadequacies of campaign disclosure laws in allowing groups to spend large amounts of money on politics without disclosing their donors.
White House officials called on the chamber to go beyond current disclosure laws and establish that no foreign money has been used in its political campaigns. “They can put this to rest,” said Joshua Earnest, a White House spokesman. “They have the keys to the file cabinet.”
Is that how it works in the United States in the era of Hopenchange? The President makes an accusation of lawbreaking without any evidence of it, and the entity accused has to prove their innocence? In this country, the government has to prove its case, not the defendant, and even before making an accusation of wrongdoing usually has to have some evidence of the crime in the first place.
This kind of rhetoric is nothing short of McCarthyism. The government makes baseless accusations and then blames the people accused for not clearing themselves. Will Obama start appearing at rallies with his “little list” of an ever-changing number of foreign contributors? The White House launched the same kind of baseless attacks on the Koch family and Americans for Prosperity this summer and have yet to offer one substantial piece of evidence that any of these groups or people have done anything wrong at all, except to oppose Obama’s policies.
This is an administration that apparently has never learned the difference between being a political campaign and serving in the government. In the former situation, this would constitute slander, which is bad enough. When it comes from the government, it’s a form of tyranny — an attempt to use the power of government to silence dissent.