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Categorized | Senate News Briefing

NY Dem AG Investigating US Chamber’s Political Spending

In his address at AEI on threats to the First Amendment, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell warned, “[I]f disclosure is forced upon some but not all, it’s not an act of good government, it’s a political weapon. And that’s precisely what those who are pushing [the DISCLOSE Act] have in mind. This is nothing less than an effort by the government itself to exposes its critics to harassment and intimidation, either by government authorities or through third-party allies. And that should concern every one of us.”

 

And sure enough, The New York Times reports today, “Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York has begun investigating contributions to tax-exempt groups that are heavily involved in political campaigns, focusing on a case involving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been one of the largest outside groups seeking to influence recent elections but is not required to disclose its donors. Mr. Schneiderman issued a wide-ranging subpoena on Tuesday to executives at a foundation affiliated with the chamber, seeking e-mails, bank records and other documents to determine whether the foundation illegally funneled $18 million to the chamber for political and lobbying activities, according to people with knowledge of the investigation. . . . In a complaint filed last year with the attorney general, watchdog groups asserted that the loan [they’ve asked Schneiderman to investigate] had been used to finance lobbying for ‘tort reform’ legislation in Congress and to run issue advertising in the 2004 presidential and Congressional campaigns, most of it against Democrats. . . . Calls from Democrats and ethics watchdogs for tighter oversight of the groups’ political activities have resulted in little action by either the Federal Election Commission, which is deadlocked over the issue, or the Internal Revenue Service, which regulates charities at the federal level. But the subpoena from Mr. Schneiderman, a Democrat who made tougher campaign finance laws a centerpiece of his 2010 election campaign, suggests that he — like his predecessors Eliot Spitzer and Andrew M. Cuomo — is preparing to aggressively exploit the unusually broad regulatory powers of his office to vault onto the national stage.”

 

In other words, the Democrat Attorney General of New York is now issuing subpoenas asking about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s donors in part because Democrats and liberal groups don’t like its political activities.

 

As Leader McConnell explained in his speech, “Justice Thomas thought the majority opinion in Citizens United didn’t go far enough. Citing recent accounts of people who’ve been blackmailed, threatened, and targeted for retaliation for speaking out on various political issues over the past couple of years, he said the Court failed to acknowledge their constitutional significance.” Leader McConnell noted, “His opinion reminds us that the courts have found the chilling effect of harassment and intimidation on free speech can actually run afoul of the First Amendment.”

 

He added, “I think we would all have to admit that it’s of a different order of magnitude from the government itself facilitating or encouraging these things … or the government using its own powers to harass or intimidate those who participate in the political process. And that’s precisely what we’ve seen.”

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog.Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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