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Wendy Block Headshot

Guess Who Could Be Funding Those Attack Ads

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Like 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..."

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.

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