Guess Who Could Be Funding Those Attack Ads

kitten teacupLike many who don’t want this country to become a crazy right-wing Caliphate, I freaked when the Citizens United ruling was decided last January. As if Democratic electeds and policy czars hadn’t screwed us enough already with their chicken shit behavior…now we’d also be swiftboated by unlimited corporate funds. And we might never know which greedy billionaires to blame.

Since donors don’t have to reveal themselves, we couldn’t prove they were funding attack ads likely to widen the moat between their turreted lives and our own. Some enterprising progressive detectives are digging online through the obscured finances of people like the Kochs and astro-turfers like Americans for Prosperity, but these pol owners also buy cash-cowed techies to further disguise their machinations. By next January, we’d remember with gauzy wistfulness the first year of the 2010s — before the overt corporate occupation of America.

The Citizens United decision doesn’t address the homeland of donors. So what would stop multi-national companies or even foreigners themselves from procuring such potential winners as Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, and America’s favorite ex-Wiccan, Christine O’Donnell?

Are the people/corporations behind these mysterious ads necessarily American? Could they be Iranian or Chinese or Russian or even…Osama bin Laden and his minions? After all, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of free speech for all money, not just money that doesn’t want to kill us.

Hyperbolic? In an election cycle highlighted by Kentucky Republicans choosing a Senatorial nominee who’d vote to repeal part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and New York GOP voters picking as their gubernatorial candidate a reporter-bullying thug who gets yucks by forwarding porn and racist video clips to his online buddies?

This week, ThinkProgress published its investigation of US Chamber of Commerce foreign-sourced campaign contributions, which cites multiple Bahrainian private and state-owned companies, including Gulf Petrochemical Industries. Through these corporations, “the U.S. Chamber of Commerce raises well over $100,000 a year in money from foreign businesses through its operation in Bahrain.”

If money flows to the Chamber from wealthy Bahrainians, it’s not hard to imagine the ultimate. Maybe Osama bin Laden is still tapping oil profits from his royal Saudi family. If you elect candidates whose campaigns run anonymously-financed attack ads, you could be promoting Bin Laden’s faves.

Suddenly I could hear my adopted senseis Karl Rove and Frank Luntz whispering, “Grasshopper! Use their strength against them.”

Dems could produce our own counter ads. For instance, “This funding group,” booms the voice-over guy, “‘Americans for Kittens Who Sleep in Tea Cups‘ claims Alan Grayson is in the pocket of the Left Handers’ union. But we couldn’t find any official admitting to a link with ‘Americans for Kittens Who Sleep in Tea Cups.’ Who are they? Are they even American? Maybe they’re from … or … or…”

wendy block

These TV and radio rebuttals could be mass-distributed throughout the country, leaving space to plug in the name of each candidate being smeared by unidentifiable deep pockets. Possible filthy rich US and foreign financiers could also be mentioned.

We may not get as much airtime as our opponents. But we sure will spur folks to think — which too many people are ignoring this campaign season — before voting us into our country’s future.

“Grasshoppers! You’re finally using our advice to win,” Karl and Frank will say, their voices full of  pride and fury.

Wendy Block

Wendy Block is a writer and progressive activist, working harder than ever to send bravery stem cells to our electeds.

Reposted with the author’s permission from Huffington Post.


  1. marshall says

    dumb article, it is unlawful to use non American funds in our elections. Even move-on would not take the risk of breaking that law.

  2. Wes Tipton says

    Obama had more ‘mysterious’ funds than any politico ever before, but the liberal chose to ignore that. Suggesting that Bin Laden may be behind some of this money in an effort to fund GOP candidates is absurd.
    There has been Saudi money linkled to Obama and they would love to see him stay in there and continue to damage this country, so the whole premise of this article is naive and incredibly stupid!
    If these are the sorts of “journalists” that you choose to use on your site you are wasting your time…and mine.

  3. in_awe says

    We must really ignore the inconvenient truth of the role of foreign and corporate donations to such right wing extremists as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Or just about any Democrat in Congress. But let any of it slip into the hands of a Republican and the sky starts to fall.

    Say, how ’bout those confiscated union dues used against the wishes of members to financially bankroll Democrats in local to national campaigns? Anything remotely wrong with that? Or the fact that >90% of union contributions are given to Democrats?

    • Lars says

      Like the amount of money that Unions use for political endeavors can ever begin to match corporate contributions to the GOP. People choose to be in Unions so by definition their dues aren’t confiscated and Unions although not angelic are by and large organizations that exist for the benefit of the membership. Things like a living wage, health insurance, some kind of retirement, 40 hr work weeks, overtime, safe working conditions are just a part of what Unions do for the American work force. Even non-union workers benefit from the existence of Unions.

      • in_awe says

        Well, according to the amounts contributed by the top 25 campaign contribution sources from 1989-2009 are as follows:

        $355MM unions
        $ 65MM Emily’s List & ActBlue
        $ 33MM trial attorneys
        $453MM of this $439.45MM (97%) went to the Dems

        $290MM corporations and trade assns
        of this $123.8MM (43%) went to Dems

        So, Dems got $439MM from unions and PACs PLUS another $123.8MM from corporations.

        Corporations donated $166MM to Repubs while unions and left PACs contributed $13.6MM to Repubs.

        No need to get into how great or bad unions are here – that is a whole ‘nother topic.

        Now as to the portion of union dues used for political purposes, they are confiscated and spent not according to the wishes of the members, but according to the wishes of the unions big wigs.

        You did read in the NYT and see on TV this weekend that the allegations of foreign money used to fund campaign ads foisted all week by Obama and Axelrod, et al have been walked back BECAUSE THEY WERE LIES – didn’t you?

        As to foreign funds flowing into Democrat presidential campaigns I won’t rehash the facts about Clinton and Chines and Indonesian money – you can Google it yourself. Or the decision of the Obama campaign to TURN OFF geographic ISP verifcation of contributors locations who were doing on-line donations, and they expressly allowed pre-paid cards to be used to obscure the source of funds. And more.

        Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they aren’t entitled top their own set of facts. Unions out contribute corporations overall and 97% of the funds flow directly into Democrat coffers.


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