If you've been following the ChamberLeaks story at all, this newly declared "War on Disclosure", actually started a while ago -- complete with NSA-grade Spies and IRS Audit intrigue ...
by Brad Johnson, ThinkProgress -- Feb 16, 2011
On September 10, U.S. Chamber Watch files charges with the IRS that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “violated tax codes by laundering millions of dollars meant for charitable work from a group with ties to the insurance giant AIG.”
On October 5, ThinkProgress exposes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for directing foreign funds into the general account it uses for political expenditures to defeat progressive candidates.
On October 7, MoveOn, Public Citizen, and other progressive organizations protest the Chamber’s plan to spend $75 million against progressive candidates, and their lack of transparency over foreign money, in front of Chamber headquarters in Washington D.C.
If true, these "means and methods" being used by the Chamber of Commerce, have the potential to put the Country's Elections up for sale -- to the Highest Bidder -- even Foreign Bidders. Garage Sale, anyone?
Where are the Investigators?
Money Laundering? -- that used to be a Crime in this Country, right?
Chamber of Commerce Accused of Tax Fraud
by Eric Lichtblau, nytimes -- Sep 10, 2010
With a war chest rivaling that of the Republican Party itself, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has emerged in the last year as perhaps the Obama administration’s most-well-financed rival on signature policy debates like health care and financial regulation.
[...] in a complaint filed Friday with the Internal Revenue Service that it violated tax codes by laundering millions of dollars meant for charitable work from a group with ties to the insurance giant A.I.G.
The complaint was brought by a group called U.S. Chamber Watch, which was created four months ago -- with the strong financial backing of labor unions -- to scrutinize the Chamber of Commerce’s growing influence and provide a counterbalance.
The I.R.S. refused to comment on the complaint, citing the confidentiality of taxpayer records.
According to several subsequent Watch Dog groups -- most of whom are now on the Chamber's "Must Stop" List -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has some explaining to do, to the U.S. people ...
The U.S. Chamber and AIG Foundation's Multimillion Dollar Tax Fraud
U.S. Chamber Watch -- fixtheuschamber.org
In October 2010, amid a mounting scandal concerning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign fundraising practices, U.S. Chamber Watch, joined by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Corporate Ethics International, and Main Street Alliance, filed an amended complaint with the Internal Revenue Service alleging that the U.S. Chamber may have intentionally attempted to conceal a series of transactions funneling over $18 million meant for charitable purposes from the AIG-affiliated Starr Foundation to the U.S. Chamber for use in its political advocacy.
Well the Chamber, being the extremely well-funded Corporate Front Group that is, wasn't about the take such calls for "Sunlight" -- lying down.
The Chamber went to their extensive Contact Rolodex, and called in some very "High-Tech" Favors ...
Plan solicited by Chamber of Commerce lawyers included malware hacking of activist computers
climateprogress.org -- Feb 23, 2011
[...] ThinkProgress revealed that lawyers representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the most powerful trade associations for large corporations like ExxonMobil and CitiGroup, had solicited a proposal from a set of military contractors to develop a surreptitious campaign to attack the Chamber’s political opponents, including ThinkProgress, the Change to Win labor coalition, SEIU, StopTheChamber.com, MoveOn.org, U.S. Chamber Watch and others.
As ThinkProgress has reported, the proposals -- created by military contractors Palantir, Berico Technologies, and HBGary Federal, collectively known as "Team Themis" -- were discussed at length with the Chamber’s lawyers over the course of several months starting in October of 2010. The core proposals called for snooping on the families of progressive activists, creating phony identities to penetrate progressive organizations, creating bots to “scrape” social media for information, and submitting fake documents to Chamber opponents as a false flag trick to discredit progressive organizations.
For more of the unnerving nitty-gritty of the "foiled" High-Tech spying plans -- that the Chamber was in the midst of acquiring, see my ChamberLeaks recap story from last Friday:
The 'Team Themis' Plan -- as prepared for the Chamber, to Target their Enemies
by jamess -- May 06, 2011
It seemed last week, that the Obama administration was about take this Front Group Dark Funding problem and subject it to the "Light of Day" through the issuing of an Executive Order "requiring Disclosures on Political Donations totaling more than $5000 per year":
Republicans warn President Obama -- Oh No, you shouldn't!
by jamess -- May 06, 2011
Apparently The Chamber caught wind of that proposed E.O. -- and decided to turn-up its hostile rhetoric against the U.S. People ... and the U.S. President ...
Asked to Disclose Secret Corporate Donors, Chamber Calls for War
by Lauren Levenstein, U.S. Chamber Watch, fixtheuschamber.org -- May 10, 2011
Editorial Boards across the country agree: Taxpayers have a right to know what happens to their money, and whether or not government contractors are paying-to-play.
Yet the U.S. Chamber considers these basic notions of disclosure and transparency as threatening to democracy as Col. Moammar Gadhafi, and they are “not going to tolerate it.”
Corporate transparency -- and a recently proposed Executive Order that would require government contractors to disclose their political contributions -- threatens the U.S. Chamber’s existence as "an accomplished conduit for secret donors" and its ability to wield corporate influence over all branches of government.
Sadly, the Chamber's war-like rhetoric appears to be having its planned effect, since last week's Executive Order draft release ...
Administration’s Proposal on Disclosing Contractors’ Political Donations Not a Hit on the Hill
by Jack Moore, executivegov.com -- May 13, 2011
Following a House oversight hearing yesterday about a draft executive order requiring government contractors to disclose political contributions, the administration’s proposal is continuing to plummet in popularity -- on both sides of the aisle.
A draft of the proposed executive order began circulating a few weeks ago, instantly drawing the ire of industry.
Too bad OUR Representatives, remain So Captive, by Corporate influences. I would still urge the President to issue the Order, in spite of the conflicted-interests of the revolving-door Congress.
In any case, here's another "Disclosure Influence", that secretive Front Groups likely will NOT be able to just "kick and scream" and argue away ...
Nonprofit advocacy groups draw IRS attention
by Stephanie Strom, New York Times - STLtoday.com -- May 13, 2011
[...] the Internal Revenue Service has sent letters to at least half a dozen major donors to such groups, informing them that they should have reported their contributions as taxable gifts.
[...] groups like Crossroads GPS, which has ties to Republican strategist Karl Rove; and Americans for Prosperity, backed by Koch and his brother Charles [...]
The organizations were established as nonprofit corporations under a section of the tax law, 501(c)(4), and the rules governing them say their primary purpose cannot be political. Unlike contributions to charities, however, donations to these groups have always been subject to a gift tax. But experts say the IRS had not enforced that rule, until now.
The IRS has apparently decided to shine their "Spotlights" on the goings on behind these shady, Corporate Front Groups -- Finally!
There's No telling what kind of Big Money "Roaches" are about to come scurrying out ...
Stay tuned ... and Demand Disclosure, from those with Billions in "mad money" -- ready and waiting to "buy influence" in your government -- ALL without the courtesy of even telling us, Their Names.