Paul wrote here and Scott here about the Democrats’ effort to smear, baselessly, the Chamber of Commerce. The Democrats speculate that the Chamber might be funneling money received from overseas into its political spending during this election cycle. The Chamber raises hardly any money in foreign countries and vociferously denies that any such money has gone toward its political spending, and the Democrats have no evidence to the contrary.
Today David Axelrod asserted on CBS that it is up to the Chamber to disprove the Democrats’ charge:
White House senior adviser David Axelrod said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has the burden of proving false the charge by Democrats that the business group is funneling foreign money to Republican campaigns.
Axelrod was pressed by CBS’ Bob Schieffer on Sunday for evidence that the foreign campaign contributions benefiting the GOP is more than “peanuts.”
“Do you have any evidence that it’s not, Bob?” Axelrod said on “Face the Nation.” “The fact is that the Chamber has asserted that, but they won’t release any information about where their campaign money is coming from. And that’s at the core of the problem.”
Axelrod’s remarkable claim is of a piece with a new DNC ad that alleges the Chamber and other conservative-leaning groups are “stealing our democracy,” and with similar charges lodged (without any supporting evidence, of course) by President Obama himself.
The Democrats’ smear campaign prompted righteous indignation from a number of Republicans, including Ed Gillespie and Karl Rove:
Ed Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman and one of the GOP operatives named in the DNC ad, noted that President Obama benefited from millions in undisclosed contributions in 2008 and that Republicans are now using the same rules.
“Don’t accuse those who are playing by the rules of somehow doing something that is unethical or illegal,” Gillespie said on “Face the Nation.”
Gillespie added that it was “an unbelievable mentality” for Axelrod to assert charges about foreign contributions without backing them up.
Here is what Rove had to say:
“Have these people no shame? Does the president of the United States have such little regard for the office that he holds that he goes out there and makes these kind of baseless charges against his political enemies?” Rove said. “This is just beyond the pale. How dare the president do this.” …
“They have not one shred of evidence to back up that baseless lie. This is a desperate and I think disturbing trend by the president of the United States to tar his political adversaries with some kind of, you know, enemies list unrestrained by any facts or evidence whatsoever,” Rove said.
Obama’s lies are particularly reprehensible, given that his 2008 Presidential campaign represents the gold standard for accepting contributions illegally from foreign sources, with no disclosure whatsoever, as Scott pointed out. Every time you think the Democratic Party can’t sink any lower, it does.
UPDATE: The Daily Caller reports that the Democrats, in disarray, are backing off their contemptible charge against the Chamber of Commerce:
President Obama on Sunday stepped back from categorical charges he made earlier this week that foreign money was funding conservative TV campaign ads, telling a rally in Philadelphia only that such a scenario was possible.
The softening of Obama’s language reflects the impact of a Saturday report on the issue by the New York Times, which concluded that charges originally made by a blog run by a Democratic-aligned think tank were baseless. …
[O]n Sunday, speaking to several thousand supporters in Philadelphia, he said that donors to groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “could even be foreign-owned companies.”
“You don’t know because they don’t have to disclose,” Obama said.
Well, Obama knows all about that. Non-disclosure was the hallmark of his Presidential campaign.
Obama’s backtracking on the issue follows several days of intense debate on the subject, following the posting Tuesday of the charges at ThinkProgress.org, the blog that is operated under the umbrella of the Center for American Progress.
The Center for American Progress doesn’t disclose its donors, either. It is financed by left-wing fat cats; whether they are Americans or not, we don’t know.
White House officials, who took up the charges and ran with them for a few days, admitted Saturday to the New York Times that they had no evidence of foreign money being used by the Chamber for any of its estimated $75 million in ads this cycle.
How low can the Democrats go? When the solidly-Democratic New York Times calls them out, you know they are in uncharted territory.