Clear and Present Danger

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has come under fire from several groups calling on it to show that the money it uses to influence American elections did not come foreign sources. Today, the Veterans Alliance for Security and Democracy joined in those calls.

The Veterans Alliance filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, urging the Commission to thoroughly investigate any foreign funds the U.S. Chamber may be using on political activities. The group raises the grave proposition that misuse of foreign funds by the Chamber would not just mean an outsourcing of our democracy, but could undermine our national security.

See Huff Po's piece here and Vet Pac's press release below.

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For Immediate Release            

October 18, 2010

Contact: Col. Richard Klass, USAF (retired) 703 241-0257

The Veterans Alliance for Security and Democracy Files a Complaint with the Federal Election Commission

Veterans allege that lack of transparency in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce use and accounting of foreign funds in U.S. elections poses “clear and present danger” to American Democracy

Washington, DC, 18 October 2010:  VETPAC, a military veterans’ Political Action Committee, petitioned the Federal Election Commission (FEC) today to require the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to fully disclose their foreign funding sources and to demonstrate that no foreign funds are used to directly or indirectly support candidates in the 2010 elections.  “The prohibition on foreign nationals influencing U.S. elections is crucial to upholding the sanctity of our democratic system, and our nation’s security,” wrote VETPAC President Colonel Richard L. Klass, USAF (retired).

The letter to the FEC points out that the law prohibits direct or indirect use of foreign funds for electioneering activity, and that the massive scale of the surreptitious use of Chamber funds calls into question the Chamber’s claim that no foreign funds are being used.

“Our military veterans, who served to protect the Constitution of the United States, are concerned that foreign money could be used to influence our policies and buy seats in the House and Senate,” said Ms. Lorin Walker, Vice President and Treasurer of VETPAC.  “The Chamber’s actions compromise the very rights for which our military men and women put their lives on the line.  These practices present a clear and present danger to our democracy by shielding the electorate from the identities of foreign influences that lurk behind the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s massive campaign spending.”

The complaint also cites other Chamber actions that suggest a tendency toward negligence with regards to campaign laws and a desire for opacity that threatens the foundation of our democracy. VETPAC believes these actions warrant thorough investigation of the use of foreign donations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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