MEMO: Does Kelly Ayotte Repudiate or Welcome the Likely Foreign Money Polluting New Hampshire’s Airwaves on Her Behalf?
DATE: October 7, 2010
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Americans United for Change
A disturbing new report is raising serious questions today about whether the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization that Kelly Ayotte has publicly embraced, is actively soliciting and spending untold sums of money from foreign countries to influence U.S. elections – money from countries including China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia that is likely being used to pollute the airwaves in New Hampshire as we speak.
From the Oct. 5 New York Times editorial, “Clean and Open American Elections” :
For at least 44 years, it has been illegal for foreign corporations, countries and individuals to make political contributions in the United States for any election, either directly or indirectly. It is even against the law to solicit such contributions. But in this Wild West year of political money, that longstanding ban is being set aside. The United States Chamber of Commerce — one of the biggest advertisers in midterm races around the country — is actively soliciting foreign money, and government enforcers seem to be doing nothing to stop it.
According to a report issued Tuesday by the Center for American Progress, a liberal policy group in Washington, the chamber is getting “dues” payments of tens of thousands of dollars from foreign companies in countries such as Bahrain, India and Egypt, and then mingling the money with its fund to advocate for or against candidates in the midterm races …The chamber has vowed to spend more than $75 million before the November election, and it has already run 8,000 ads, most of which support Republican candidates.
It’s reported yesterday that Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH-24) is one of the targets of the U.S. Chamber’s $75 million, likely foreign-funded television smear campaign. Why?
As CAP Action Fund/ThinkProgress notes in the report, “The Chamber has repeatedly sent out issue alerts attacking Democratic efforts to encourage businesses to hire locally rather than outsource to foreign counties.”
Congressman Hodes is top target of the Corporate special interests because he has fought hard to create jobs here at home by closing tax loopholes, embraced by the U.S. Chamber, that encourage companies to ship jobs overseas. The Chamber is clearly willing to do whatever it takes to stand in the way of officials like Paul Hodes who put middle-class families ahead of Corporate America’s bottom line.
The question is: does Kelly Ayotte welcome these ads - as she welcomes the Chamber’s endorsement - attacking Congressman Hodes on her behalf that aren’t just from out-of-state, but likely from out-of-country? Will she repudiate this wholly Un-American, Un-Democratic, and possibly illegal foreign intrusion into New Hampshire’s political process?
For Kelly Ayotte to look the other way and say nothing as more and more foreign money likely pours into New Hampshire on her behalf would be tantamount to an endorsement of it. Her silence would send a clear message to the U.S. Chamber: “Keep it up, boys – keep it up.”