At issue is the White House demanding that the Chamber of Commerce reveal its list of political donors. When the Chamber refuses to do so, the White House says they must have something to hide. The Chamber responds by saying they're not legally required to reveal the names and the main reason for not doing so is because those donors will then become the subjects of Union thuggery.
Jake Tapper of ABC interviewed Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce on October 13th and asked good questions. Josten didn't just defend his organization; he went on the attack:
TAPPER: They're suggesting, based on a ThinkProgress report, that since you do get some money from foreign companies and from AmChams, which are based in other countries, essentially foreign money is finding its way onto the American air waves to fund political attacks on politicians you are trying to defeat.He's right about Think Progress. This an extremely partisan, left wing group that directly influences White House policy. As for the reasons why Josten is rightfully refusing to disclose the Chamber's donor lists...
JOSTEN: Well it's a sad day and a last gasp I guess by this administration and their outside allies, and I wouldn't call the ThinkProgress blog a report Jake, I would recognize it's a liberal blog, subset of the Center for American Progress, which is run by the president's transition campaign director John Podesta, that made a lot of inferences and clearly Al Fang who is the author of that blog doesn't even understand what an American Chamber of Commerce abroad is.
TAPPER: I said this wasn't necessarily related to the Chamber issue, I was talking about this to --As I'm watching this attack on the Chamber of Commerce unfold, it reminded me of that interview with an alleged White House 'insider' that came out last month. In light of the inexplicable decision to go after the Chamber, check out this excerpt from one of that insider's answers:
JOSTEN: I know, but look, Target corporation in Minnesota, which is a very progressive company and exceptionally progressive with respect to the gay and lesbian community in that state, out some money behind a ballot initiative in that state on economic growth. And it just so happened that one of the people running for governor connected to that, is anti gay and lesbian rights. That company has had a boycott, they have been attacked, they have been harassed, and there have been attempts to demand, if you will, that they make equal contributions to other outside groups. Even though their history in that space speaks eloquently for itself.
So, what happens here is intimidate, harass, and try and push people away from participating in the process. We have no intention of not participating in the process.
The President of the United States threw a temper tantrum. The jobs reports are always setting him off, and he is getting increasingly conspiratorial over the unemployment numbers. I never heard it myself, but was told that Obama thinks the banking system is out to get him now. That they and the big industries are making him pay for trying to regulate them more. That is the frame of mind the President is in these days. And you know what? Maybe he is right, who knows?Paranoia would certainly explain targeting the Chamber.
As for the unsubstantiated charge Obama is levying about foreign donors, how about this video report from 2008 in which Palestinians had set up a phone bank in Gaza to raise money for the Obama campaign. The man running it barely spoke english.