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Center for American Progress and the Foreign Interests that Bankroll It

3:30 PM, Oct 11, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
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I don’t actually have proof that John Podesta’s Center for American Progress is funded by foreign interests and corporations, but does anyone have proof that it isn’t? This is the new standard set by the Obama administration for organizations engaged in political activity it dislikes – guilty until proven otherwise.

White House senior adviser David Axelrod articulated the new policy yesterday on “Face the Nation” as he attacked the Chamber of Commerce for using foreign money to influence domestic elections – a dubious charge originally made by the Center for American Progress: 

"This part about foreign money, that appears to be peanuts," said CBS chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer. "Mr. Axelrod, do you have any evidence that it's anything other than peanuts?" 

"Well, do you have any evidence that it's not, Bob?" the White House adviser replied. "The fact is that the Chamber has asserted that, but they won't release any information about where their campaign money is coming from." 

The headline CBS has placed on the video of this exchange is “Schieffer Smacks Down Axelrod's Foreign Money Accusation." The New York Times smacked down the allegation last week as well:

“Just this week, we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign corporations,” Mr. Obama said. “So groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections.”

But a closer examination shows that there is little evidence that what the chamber does in collecting overseas dues is improper or even unusual, according to both liberal and conservative election-law lawyers and campaign finance documents.

The fact that there is little evidence to support the charge didn’t stop President Obama from repeating it at a speech in Philadelphia last night. And despite all of these allegations, the DNC and the DCCC haven’t asked the Chamber to pull the ads it's running in support of six House Democrats.

Ed Gillespie, former chairman of the RNC and a supporter of American Crossroads (another Republican group that has come under attack by the White House over the last few weeks), followed Axelrod on “Face the Nation” yesterday. As Gillespie pointed out, “the charge of illegal criminal activity [by the Chamber], that was based on a blog posting that the President of the United States repeated – that was put on a website that's affiliated with the Center for American Progress, a liberal nonprofit advocacy group that does not disclose its donors.”

CAP says it’s not breaking the law and taking foreign money – but do we have any hard evidence that it’s not? What are they hiding?

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