It’s a sound bite that just won’t die, and one Democrats plan to take to the grave this elections season: Republicans are only winning because their campaigns are flush with cash from secret donors.
The Democratic National Committee released a new ad this week restating the White House line that Republicans are using “secret donors” to “buy” the 2010 midterm elections. President Obama has called the practice, which is legal under the U.S. tax code, a “threat to our democracy.”
“You’ve seen the ads. Millions being spent by right-wing groups to buy an election. All from secret donors. What’s not a secret is why. Republicans and their corporate buddies want to be back in charge,” a voice declares while images of a low-lit board room and faceless handshakes fill the screen.
The ad says that “Wall Street,” “big oil” and “insurance companies” are using the Republican Party to do their bidding, and spending big to get them reelected. The trend of large interests giving to the party that is expected to win in an election is nothing new. When it was projected that Republicans would face heavy losses in 2008, commercial banks, investment firms, pharmaceutical corporations and insurance companies all gave more to Democratic presidential candidates than Republicans. Oil companies, however, donated far more to Republicans.
Prompted by speculation on a liberal blog that accuses groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce might be funding political ads with foreign donations, Democrats have relied heavily on the story, and some have accused them of using it to avoid their congressional record.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs came under fire last week when it was revealed that he worked for an organization that produced political ads, but refused to disclose its donors until the law required it. DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse also worked for an advocacy group that to this day has not revealed its funding sources.
The new ad from the DNC suggests that despite inter-party skepticism about the strategy, the national organization arm will continue to use it through Election Day.