The New York Times was quick to join the left-wing chorus attacking the Chamber of Commerce for allegedly using private money to support Republican candidates in this year’s election. But even as President Obama, as if on cue, began touting this unsupported claim on the campaign trail, Times reporter Eric Lichtblau challenged it.
On Friday, the day after Obama first repeated the charge, Lichtblau wrote that ” a closer examination shows that there is little evidence that what the chamber does in collecting overseas dues is improper or even unusual, according to both liberal and conservative election-law lawyers and campaign finance documents.” He continued:
In fact, the controversy over the Chamber of Commerce financing may say more about the Washington spin cycle — where an Internet blog posting can be quickly picked up by like-minded groups and become political fodder for the president himself — than it does about the vagaries of campaign finance.
Organizations from both ends of the political spectrum, from liberal ones like the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the Sierra Club to conservative groups like the National Rifle Association, have international affiliations and get money from foreign entities while at the same time pushing political causes in the United States. . . .
Such groups, which collectively have spent hundreds of millions dollars on political causes to advance their agenda, are required by law to ensure that any foreign money they receive is isolated and not used to finance political activities, which would violate a longstanding federal ban. The Chamber of Commerce says it has a vigorous process for ensuring that does not happen, and no evidence has emerged to suggest that is untrue.
This White House has cycled through a series of bogeymen — Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Fox News, George W. Bush, John Boehner, Karl Rove — in a manner that would have made Richard Nixon proud. With the addition of the U.S Chamber of Commerce to the list, Obama seems to have gone too far even for the New York Times.