Over the weekend, some Democrats began questioning the White House strategy of demonizing third-party groups for potentially using foreign-raised money in political messaging. Now we know why. Apparently, the shrieking over foreign influence was yet another case of projection:
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.
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.
Those who got held out as examples by Democrats of potential agents of foreign influence aren’t shy about pointing out the obvious, either:
“Barack Obama criticized the Supreme Court and his adversaries over the bogus charge of foreign money tainting elections – while leaders in his own party had taken more than a million dollars from the foreign cookie jar,” said Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for American Crossroads, the political group at the center of the controversy.
“The hypocrisy here is just stunning,” he said.
That’s not exactly news, either.
For those legitimately concerned over foreign influence on elections, the problem exists in this structure that allows companies outside the US to create and control PACs that can contribute to American political campaigns. The fact that they raise the money from Americans does not negate the fact that the companies control the PACs and use the leverage for their own campaigning efforts. In fact, this is worse than the hypothetical (which the White House and Democrats turned into an explicit allegation without any proof whatsoever) of American PACs controlled by American citizens raising funds overseas and using them in political campaigns.
Perhaps the White House didn’t want to focus on the real problem and decided to use a fake problem for misdirection.