Monday, November 22, 2010

The Meaning of the Secret Donations

Our friends at The New York Times are shocked, shocked to discover that the US Chamber of Commerce has been laundering "secret" donations for corporate special interests.

Specifically, according to a Times editorial, the Chamber has received secret donations from the insurance industry and from Wall Street.

Secret donors spent at least $138 million on the midterm elections, according to the latest figures, and 80 percent of that secret money supported Republican candidates. What will those donors get for their money, and who will they get it from?

Yes, it is very annoying that corporate interests are secretly spending money to oppose the Obama administration. Who would have thought it?

But the Times is missing the point. The reason that these corporate interests are laundering their money through the Chamber of Commerces is that they are afraid. They are afraid of what the Obamis would do to them if they came out and honestly admitted, with their contributions, that they are dead set against Obama and all his works.

Let's put it this way. The reason that many Democrats want Nancy Pelosi to continue as Minority Leader in the House is that she is a great fundraiser. Now why do you think that the lovely Nancy has such a reputation as a fundraiser? Charm? Personal beauty? A winning sales pitch? Or is it just naked threats to pay up or get thumped?

Here is a story that might illuminate the issue. Right after the 1994 elections Speaker-elect Newt Gingrich is reported to have told his people to put the screw on all the corporations. They hadn't contributed much in the runup to the elections, but now they had better learn which side their bread was buttered.

The fact is that the secret contributors to the Chamber were afraid. They were afraid of the consequences if it became known that they were contributing to Republicans.

And that, I suggest to my liberal friends, convinced of the enormous power of big corporations, is not good. Nobody, not progressives, not pro-lifers, not corporations, not unions should be afraid to contribute openly to the candidate of their choice.

As for me, I live for the day when government employee unions feel the need to hide their contributions to Democrats, because they are afraid to face the wrath of the permanent-majority Republicans.

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