Funding for American presidential elections is beginning to go global. From Sweden to Canada to Portugal, on international Web sites, solicitations are popping up urging the citizens of the world to contribute to advertising campaigns intended to influence our November presidential election. Of course they are not trying to re-elect George Bush. The candidacies of Howard Dean and Wesley Clark seem to be the inspiration for such efforts. There is no evidence, yet, that either of those campaigns is directly running these operations. But the Clark campaign has inched dangerously close.
Perceptive reporting by The Talon News and the Drudge Report over the last three weeks has begun to reveal this unprecedented fund-raising tactic. According to Drudge, the official Web site for Wesley Clark is linked to "CanadaForClark, which advises its readers that: Non-Americans can't, by law, give money to any particular candidate's campaign. But we can support pro-democracy, progressive American organizations like MoveOn.Org, which do their best to spread the ugly truth about Bush and publicize the Democratic message. Wink, wink ... nudge, nudge.
The Drudge Report goes on to report that the CanadaForClark.com Web site links to MoveOn.Org for the purpose of making contributions, and that the top referrer to that Web site is the Official Clark for President Web site. It should be noted that the CanadaForClark Web site asserts that: "This site is not affiliated in any way with the official Clark campaign." But, of course, the official campaign Web site links to the "not affiliated" Web site.
Until this moment I am not aware of any major presidential campaign that has ever actually publicly assisted in raising foreign money to influence an American election. Of course, former President Clinton tried to raise illegal Chinese campaign money in his 1996 re-election campaign. But he had the practical political good sense to do it in secret, and to deny it when it was made public.
But retired four-star General Wesley Clark, the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO (and first in his class at West Point), apparently is blithe to be seen trying to taint an American presidential election with foreign money.
Whatever the legality of these methods turns out to be, it is stunning that a major candidate for president would think nothing of being seen to raise foreign money. This lack of judgment is only compounded by the fact that we are at war, and the money is being solicited by the foreigners expressly to try to stop President Bush from carrying out our war on terrorism.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.