In their latest attempt to distract voters from their job-killing policies, President Obama, his White House and senior Democrats in Congress have added to their long list of bogeymen the outside groups that seek to help elect Republicans in November. They threaten congressional investigations, discuss private tax information and level baseless accusations of criminal activity against those who have been public in seeking to defeat Democratic candidates and their liberal agenda. Without a trace of irony, powerful Democratic officeholders lament that many who support these groups wish to remain anonymous.
None of these Democrats expressed concern about such outside spending in 2008, when more than $400 million was spent to help elect Barack Obama, much of it from undisclosed donors. The liberal groups and Democrats who supported the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which established the legal framework for this new campaign spending, were much faster to adapt to its contours than the Republicans and conservative groups that largely opposed it, and liberal outside groups massively outspent Republicans in the past two election cycles.
When conservative groups and their backers moved closer to spending parity (Democrats' cries of being outspent omit the more than $200 million being spent by labor unions this cycle), Democrats tried to change the law again. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen and Sen. Chuck Schumer, who chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, tried to jam through a new campaign finance reform bill that would force the disclosure of donors but carefully adjust the disclosure thresholds to exempt labor unions. After this transparently political effort failed, the Democrats unleashed a torrent of calls for government investigations into groups for abiding by the law they passed in 2002 but failed this year to change. (Continues here at WaPo)