Friday, October 15, 2010

Campaign Finance Gets Outsourced

The 2010 midterm election is on track to become the most expensive election in US history, with nearly $200 million of campaign ads. Roughly 38% is being spent by the US Chamber of Commerce on ads attacking Democrats.

This week the Center for American Progress released a list of 80 foreign companies who have contributed a total of $885,000 to the Chamber, mostly from India and the Kingdom of Bahrain. Like so many of America's other jobs, it appears that campaign financing is getting outsourced.

Traditional campaign financiers are worried. Arlo Pert and his family have been in the political contribution business since his grandfather gave a dollar to Harry Truman in 1948. Now he's afraid he just can't compete. "Those Indian campaign financiers use child labor," Pert complains. "You know how much easier it is to stuff cash in someone's pocket with those tiny fingers?"

There are also concerns that foreign-funded ads may not be subject to the same quality control as American-bought ads. The Washington Post reported this week that many of the Chamber's ads have been recalled because they contained information that was simply false.

Not all of the Chamber's funding comes from India and Bahrain, of course. The Chamber has received $1 million from Fox News owner, Rupert Murdoch, who comes from Australia. This week the Chamber also received a $10,000 pledge from Glenn Beck, who is widely believed to be from the Moon.

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