Is Obama lying about Foreign donations being used by Republicans to fund their campaigns?
“Just this week, we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign corporations,” Mr. Obama said. “So groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections.”
But 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. . . .
Michael Barone has this note:
it’s well documented that the 2008 Obama campaign did not put in place address verification software that would have routinely prevented most foreign donations. In effect they were encouraging donations by foreign nationals. Here’s the Washington Post on this back in October 2008: "Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor’s identity, campaign officials confirmed. Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged.” . . .
UPDATE: On Sunday fuzzed up his claims about foreign donors.
Obama Scales Back Campaign Finance Criticism After Claims Decried as 'Baseless'
President Obama on Sunday scaled back his claim that Republicans are taking foreign money for their campaigns, using slightly more ambiguous language at a rally in Philadelphia after GOP strategists warned Democrats against telling "baseless" lies to win votes.
Democrats had been directing their criticism at the Chamber of Commerce and other GOP-supporting groups. But after the latest Democratic National Committee ad outright claimed "it appears they're even taking secret foreign money to influence our elections," White House senior adviser David Axelrod acknowledged that "no one knows" where the money is coming from.
Obama, speaking at a Philadelphia rally Sunday, hammered the campaign finance theme but left open the question of whether anybody is violating U.S. law by using foreign money.
"There's no question the other side sees a chance to get back in the driver's seat," Obama said. "They are being helped along this year by special interest groups that are spending unlimited amounts of money on attack ads ... just attacking people without ever disclosing who's behind all these attack ads. You don't know. It could be the oil industry. It could be the insurance industry. It could even be foreign-owned corporations. You don't know because they don't have to disclose."
The president had left less wiggle room during a rally in Maryland Thursday, when he referenced the Chamber of Commerce, saying it was paying for ads against Democrats while taking money from "foreign corporations." . . .
UPDATE 2: From Politico:
Democrats enter the homestretch of the 2010 elections complaining vocally about the flood of Republican money, much of it anonymous, pounding their candidates.
But as the White House points the finger at outside Republican groups, many Democrats point the finger back at the White House, which dismantled the Democratic Party's own outside infrastructure in 2008 and never tried to rebuild it.
The blame certainly isn't President Barack Obama's alone. The rich Democrats who would traditionally give to such groups are — like Democrats at large — demoralized, particularly by the defeat of climate change legislation. They're disheartened by the conservative revival. And they're resigned to a Republican victory in November.
But it's also easy to underestimate the president's ability to increase the flow of cash to Democrat-friendly groups had he chosen to do so. Instead, Obama's choice has been unilateral disarmament.
To the White House, that posture is a mark of the purity of the presidential brand and of Obama's consistency. "Throughout his 2008 campaign, the president vowed to change business as usual in Washington and take on some of the tough challenges that politicians in Washington had put off for too long," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. "We're pleased to have made so much progress on these priorities — from Wall Street reform to health care reform — while staying true to the values and vision that earned the enthusiastic support of so many Democrats and Republicans during the campaign."
But to some of its more practical-minded allies, the White House is protecting the brand at a very real cost to the party. . . .