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Do the polls back up the attacks on the Chamber of Commerce?

From one "Beltway inside-game commentator" to another: No, the attacks on the Chamber of Commerce aren't helping Democrats in the election. A poll showing that voters respond negatively when asked, "If a candidate is backed by anonymous or corporate groups, which run ads that mask their identity, does that make you more likely to vote for that candidate?" doesn't prove otherwise. You can poll any attack line or boast in isolation and voters will like it. What would prove -- or at least suggest -- otherwise is evidence that these attacks are swinging voters toward the Democrats. But if anything, the opposite is happening:


Now, do I think that recent Republican gains are a product of the attacks on the Chamber? I do not. But does the polling support the idea that attacking the Chamber is a successful electoral strategy? It does not. If the strategy seemed to be about uniting the party around the Fair Elections Act or some other serious piece of campaign-finance reform, then it would at least have a post-election rationale, but I'm not seeing evidence of that, either.

By Ezra Klein  | October 15, 2010; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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wow its just CRAZY that is polling this soon after the administration came up with the story about "secret campaign financing by foreign entities".

And stated that this was totally unproven yet they're running with it. Maybe Ezra you should have linked here:

The true story is that if you don't agree with this administration they'll make up just about anything about you to try to discredit you. I guess that's nothing new for politicians but it is new for someone who campaigned on "HOPE AND CHANGE". I guess that went out the window, huh?

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 15, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

What about as a fundraising tool? I gave $25 to the DNC because of it.

Posted by: Castorp1 | October 15, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

From one person who understands statistics to one who has shown he does not: you've now used the same type of "proof" the stimulus didn't work to show this message doesn't work.

Posted by: endaround | October 15, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Having the President of the United States attack the Chamber of commerce and the attack ads run by the democrats is just about the dumbest thing the democrats could do.

The chamber of commerce is your local real estate agent, your insurance agent, the guy who owns the local bakery in every small, medium and big town in the United States. Your friends and neighbors are under attack by the President of the United States. Every voter knows someone who is a member of the chamber of commerce.

Who in the democratic party came up with this?

Posted by: justinterested | October 15, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

People are worried enough about jobs not to pay too much heed to other arguments, unless of course you can illustrate how they connect to jobs. Rachel Maddow did this cleanly and well recently on anonymous funding. Even the employed, the vast majority, feel anxiety, worry about the price of their homes, etc. Like someone going to a doctor, swing voters are just looking for results. So every ad for a Democrat should be showing that graph of job losses before Obama took over for Bush vs. after to illustrate Democrats have undeniably been mending what they inherited. Even the Wall Street Journal concluded the stimulus had helped. And the Republicans tried to block it. And didn't disown Rush Limbaugh when said he hopes Obama fails.

As for the Chamber of Commerce, (a) I think the innocuous name has masked what it is: corporate lobbyists running their own ads in favor of Republicans (b) it has to be connected to people's own anxiety like Maddow did i.e. Republicans would focus on helping these funders they refuse to reveal- and their interests may not be yours. Is it banks or corporations that don't want rules protecting consumers? Foreign businesses that want to grow profits by hiring foreigners on the cheap instead of Americans? We don't know they refuse to disclose who is paying for them to get elected. Connect it to people's real anxiety.

Finally, on deficit, remind: grew wildly under Reagan and Bushes, shrunk under Clinton. Obama cut taxes in the stimulus but the tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires the GOP wants=deficit miracle grow.

Posted by: birchbeer | October 15, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, the attacks on the CoC's funding are new, any effect isn't going to show up in Pollster's trends. You're smarter than that.

visionbrkr, As for, their "Fact Check" consisted of asking the Chamber of Commerce how much foreign money they get and then taking them at their word that it's only $100,000.

It's not.

Just looking at public disclosures shows $885,000 coming from foreign companies, including one owned by the government of India.

The Chamber of Commerce lied to

The beltway and the right are protesting too much that this line of attack is ineffective.

Time to pick a side folks - either you're fine with foreign corporations owned by foreign government influencing our elections or you're not.

If you want foreign influence to continue, vote Republican. If you don't, vote Democrat. It's that simple.

Posted by: lol-lol | October 15, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Today it is the Chamber, tomorrow the POTUS will attack another group. What is becoming clear to many is that watch out or you will become tomorrow's news. I was furious with Bush for never defending himself against the millions of daily rants by the left. I wanted him to fight back and yet as POTUS he never did. Now I see why. Obama looks like a high school candidate when he stoops so low to attack citizens of the US when he is suppose to represent them as well. It is the office that needs to be held to a high standard. Bush was right, I see it now, and Obama is really showing the Chicago style tactics that many warned were there.

Posted by: jkachmar | October 15, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"The problems we inherited were far worse than most inside and out of government had expected; the recession was deeper than most inside and out of government had predicted. Curing those problems has taken more time and a higher toll than any of us wanted."

Posted by: birchbeer | October 15, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse


that's a tool's agenda. How bout this:

New York Times, Oct. 8: [T]here 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.

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.

You can choose to live in a fools world that Think Progress keeps you in but I'm not staying there.

Also what do you have to say to this:

The Times also noted that groups such as the AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club also have international affiliations. The AFL-CIO has pledged to spend $53 million on the midterm elections, mainly supporting Democrats.

Welcome to the 1990's lol-lol. Most every large company nowadays is global. I'm sure if i cared to I'd find tons of liberal and progressive groups like that have operations overseas too. Are they funded to overthrow our country???

in fact its kind of comical i just went on their site and they actually have the audacity to call Alexi Gianoullis a progressive. You know the one who had a bank go under and made money for his family etc. I guess the lying will never stop. But I guess its only Fox News that lies huh?

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 15, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I disagree. I think it's very beneficial to point out that The Chamber of Commerce isn't working for America's benefit. It is working for Capitalists benefit, even if it is at the expense of working Americans. It's educating Americans and in that sense it works. They hear the Chamber of Commerce attack ads and they take them with a dolop of salt. I mean that sincerely. Have you heard their ads? They are an abomination. and all the others who think Democrats should refrain from hitting back on everything are wrong. Democrats need to hit back with EVERYTHING.

Posted by: kindness1 | October 15, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The US Chamber is wholly different than your local chamber. The US Chamber is funded by large multinational corporations, not your average local real estate agent.

I think there is a significant issue raised when it is demonstrated that all of that foreign money is going into the same bank account used to pay for all of the advertising. Money is fungible, so arguably the presence of ANY foreign money in the campaign account taints it all.

The issue rises in significance when you look more closely at those foriegn donors. The largest ones are specifically seeking outsourcing of American jobs, and expect the Chamber to advocate for outsourcing, which it happily does to support the bottom lines of its members -- without concern for American workers, jobs, or the economy as a whole.

Explain to the average citizen that corporations and foreign governments are not only buying the government of their choice, but doing so at a cost not only to real democracy but to jobs and the American economy and the poll results would likely tilt towards Democrats. But the messaging has to be clearer and stronger about the impact.

Posted by: reach4astar2 | October 15, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, As for, their "Fact Check" consisted of asking the Chamber of Commerce how much foreign money they get and then taking them at their word that it's only $100,000.

Posted by: lol-lol | October 15, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

actually lol-lol you're wrong.

"The FEC reaffirmed that position as recently as 2006, in another advisory opinion stating that domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations may donate to state and local elections"

so now you're lying about what did and said? Is there no end to your lies? And as for the "foreign corporate interests" most all of them off the top of your head you can see may be headquartered in other countries but employ Americans like HSBC Bank, AXA Group a life insurance co with hundreds of thousands of US employees, KPMG, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis etc.

Ridiculous, poltical garbage is what it is.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 15, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Without knowing who is funding the CoC, it is impossible to know whether foreign donations are coming in.

Think progress has made specific claims that indicate foreign donations are coming in.

So until the CoC publishes it's list, it is safe to assume that foreign sources will abuse the system.

Posted by: lauren2010 | October 15, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree that it is likely this line of attack will have little effect on the election but it is also likely that any attack will have little impact on the election. I'm not sure the CoC ads have that much of an impact either. What's the deal with the bad research and low production values of the ads? Do all the good oppo research people get hooked up with campaigns and can't get that contract?

However, this line of attack is linked with the reaction of Democrats since Citizens United. The claim is that shadowy organizations with unclear motives would send money into elections and some of that money would be foreign because you can't get away from that with corporate participation in elections. The remedy proposed was the disclose act which was rejected. If the democrats get out of this election, clearly, one priority will be something like the disclose act.

It is entirely possible that both everybody does it and this is an abusive practice that should be stopped are both true. I assume that most campaigns prior to 1972 were funded the way Nixon's reelection was funded, but Nixon was so successful that the corrupting nature of undisclosed cash donations became undeniable. My baker suddenly deciding to air thousands of ads targeting one party for no particular policy reason is very odd.

Posted by: windshouter | October 15, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The move in GOP polling could simply be explained by the fact that most people aren't aware of an issue with the GOP 3rd party advertising.

The movement in polls could be a response to the proliferation of negative attack ads run by these 3rd party groups. More people are likely to see an ad run using dirty money than they are likely to see an ad or a news reporting highlighting the funding sources for the ads. That's one take.

Either way, just as a matter of principle it makes sense to highlight the fact that dirty money is funding GOP attack ads this cycle. Make it publicly known and keep hammering on it and then let voters decide for themselves.

Posted by: JPRS | October 15, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse


Thank you for pointing out is that it's currently legal for foreign companies to influence our elections. It's still irrelevant to the point being made.

Obama didn't make any note of whether this was *legal* - he was making a point that it was happening and there incontrovertible proof that is.

Posted by: lol-lol | October 15, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse


ITS DOMESTIC SUBSIDIARIES. There is a difference that doesn't fit your lies so you go ahead and ignore it just like you ignored the fact that:

"The Times also noted that groups such as the AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club also have international affiliations. The AFL-CIO has pledged to spend $53 million on the midterm elections, mainly supporting Democrats."

But i guess those ones are OK in your eyes. Listen I'm all for public funding of elections i'm just against the President of the United States using a lie told by a blogger and running with it like its fact.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 15, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

It takes a lot of gall for a democrat to raise this charge. Millions were flowing to Clnton and Gore from foreign sources, notably the People's Liberation Army of China. One of Clinton's priceless responses was that objecting to this showed you were prejudiced against Asians.Not a soul in the democratic party at the time had a bad word to say about the use of the bhuddist nuns as a front for Chinese contributions to Gore. No one asked what the Chinese, and other foreign countries, were getting in return.

Posted by: truck1 | October 15, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse


Try to keep up. We're not talking about the AmChams. We're talking about foreign owned business (NOT subsidiaries of US companies) that directly give money to the same CoC 501c6 organization currently running election ads. Read the link I posted.

Or are you going to continue to seriously claim the Bank of India is a "domestic subsidiary" despite the fact it's *owned* by the actual *government* of India?

Spin harder.

Posted by: lol-lol | October 15, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Here's a list of companies in India that have given money to the Chamber of Commerce's 501c6 that's running election ads.

"Wipro" and "Jindal Power" just scream "domestic subsidiary", don't they?

Ireo Management - Gurgoan, India $15,000
ITC Group - Kolkata, India $15,000
J. Sagar Associates - Mumbai, India $15,000
J.B.Boda Insurance - Mumbai, India $7,500
J.M. Baxi & Co. - Mumbai, India $15,000
Jagran Prakashan - Kanpur, India $7,500
Jindal Power - New Delhi, India $15,000
Jubilant Organosys - Noida, India $7,500
Kimaya Energy - New Delhi, India $15,000
Kotak Mahindra - Mumbai, India $7,500
KPIT Cummins - Pune, India $7,500
Larsen & Toubro - Mumbai, India $15,000
Leela Hotels - Bengaluru, India $7,500
Luthra & Luthra - New Delhi, India $15,000
Majmudar & Company - Mumbai, India $7,500
NIIT Technologies - Delhi, India $15,000
Nishith Desai Associates - Mumbai, India $15,000
Oberoi Group - Dehli,India $7,500
Patni Americas - Mumbai, India $15,000
Punj Lloyd - Gurgaon, India $15,000
Panbaxy, Inc. - Gurgaon, India $7,500
Reliance Industries - Mumbai, India $15,000
Reliance Communications - Navi Mumbai, India $7,500
Rolta - Mumbai, India $7,500
SKP Crossborder Consulting - Mumbai, India $7,500
State Bank of India - Mumbai, India $15,000
Tata Group - Mumbai, India $15,000
Tatva Legal - India $15,000
Trilegal - India $7,500
Walchandnagar Industries - Mumbai, India $7,500
Welspun - Mumbai, India $7,500
Wipro - Bangalore, India $15,000

The Chamber of Commerce is big proponent of outsourcing jobs to India. I wonder why.

Posted by: lol-lol | October 15, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse


ya because $15,000 here and there from a couple of outsourcing companies really influences the COC that has an $800 million annual operating budget.

How come you don't answer my question about the unions and the Sierra fund?

Or better yet truck1's unasked one about Gore and China???

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 15, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

$800K from a foreign companies in India is $800K more for the Chamber of Commerce to spend influencing our elections. Who knows how much money Russian or Chinese interests are laundering through the Chamber of Commerce? They won't tell you and you won't care because it's your team.

Why don't you address the fact that you were wrong about the AmChams instead of trying furiously to change the subject? This issue is toxic and the reaction from Republicans and pundits just confirms that.

Posted by: lol-lol | October 15, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse


you're just wrong and can't admit it and can't bother to answer my questions. AmChams was not proven to spend that money. Can you say the same about the unions and the Sierra Club???

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 15, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Also don't you think the FEC would have had a problem with it if the facts showed that this money came directly from foreign companies? Or are they in bed with and the COC too. take your conspiracy theories back to the FDL's and the think progresses of the internet. But before you do answer MY question.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 15, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr :

Why do you keeping bringing up AmChams? They're not the companies under discussion here. We're talking about foreign owned companies in foreign countries.

It's technically legal because the companies are giving money to the Chamber of Commerce which is then spending the money on election ads. It's a money laundering organization. This is the damage that the Citizens United ruling has wrought. Just because something is legal doesn't mean it's right. (a distinction largely lost amongst corporate America and Republicans)

As I said, Fact Check's entire 'fact check' consisted of taking the CoC's word that this was only AmCham money. The Chamber of Commerce demonstrably *lied*. Money is fungible. "Seperate accounts" or not, the money is still going to the same organization.

Why won't you admit that? Do you like being a sucker?

Posted by: lol-lol | October 15, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The FEC is hopelessly deadlocked (and the Senate Republicans are blocking new appointments). Don't expect the FEC to solve anything for a long time.

Posted by: reach4astar2 | October 15, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse


guilty until proven innocent huh? you know these guys below were actually CONVICTED right? 22 convictions. Number of convictions of a crime from the "COC scandal" ZERO.

Sounds like you're the sucker. But ya let's focus on a couple of Indian companies and/or a bank controlled by their government that gave one onehundredth of one percent of the operating budget of the COC and let's make believe they then have the power to push policy because of that.

Let's see 22 convictions then, no proof now. hmmmm.

Direct ties to the President and VP then, no ties to any Republicans now. hmmmm.

And furthermore your argument that the COC took money from foreign governments to influence policy is as flimsy as if I were to say the Sierra Club or AFSCME did the same thing.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 16, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

FUnny how is behind this bunch of lies!!! There are no facts behind their accusations! And to think this administration (starting with our president) picked it up and ran with it! What a bunch of cheesy jokers!

Posted by: chukkalady | October 16, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

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