While President Barack Obama and other well-known figureheads of the Democratic Party are criticizing Republicans for allegedly benefiting from "foreign donations" to conservative interest groups, a new analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics has revealed that the Democratic Party has raised more than $1 million from political action committees affiliated with foreign companies -- about twice as much as the $510,000 the GOP has received from PACs on the same list.
The PACs at the center of the study are funded entirely by contributions from American employees of foreign companies. "This is not foreign money per-se, but these PACs are certainly populated by people who work for foreign companies," says David Levinthal, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics.
“Foreign companies and foreign governments can lobby Congress, and that is probably one area where they have a measurable effect on politics,” Levinthal told The Hill. “Foreign-subsidiary political action committees is about as close as you can get.”
In response, Republicans are crying foul, accusing the Democratic Party of hypocrisy in their criticism of groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads, a group backed by GOP heavyweights Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie. “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 hypocrisy here is just stunning,” he told The Hill.
Despite President Obama and the Dems' accusations, both the Chamber and American Crossroads have vehemently denied accepting foreign dollars for use in domestic political efforts and Democrats have acknowledged that they have no evidence that the groups are accepting money from abroad and using it to fund political messages. Instead, Dems argue that "in the absence of tougher campaign disclosure rules, it's entirely possible," The Hill reports.
“The overarching issue here is that we don't know where these entities are raising money. It could be money from foreign corporation, big oil or companies that want to outsource U.S. jobs,” says Doug Thornell, a spokesman for Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
With the midterm elections only two weeks away, Democrats says they plan to continue attacking conservative groups over possible foreign funds enabling political attacks.
“I think it is having resonance,” Van Hollen said last week on MSNBC. “I think that people are understanding that there's this very important nexus between the special interests who are spending these millions of dollars and an agenda that doesn't serve the interests of the American people.”