Democrats have a message for American job creators: Nice business you have there. It would be a real shame if you donated to Republicans and something...unfortunate were to happen to it:
Democrats on K Street are warning their corporate clients: Give to Republican challengers in the 2012 election, and you’ll regret it come tax reform time. Lobbyists are getting that message from allies of powerful Democrats such as Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is closely watching support for Rep. Denny Rehberg, a Republican challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). Baucus supporters fear that if Rehberg ousts Tester, Baucus could be next to face a serious Republican challenge in the state.
One K-Streeter close to the Baucus operation said the senator considers a gift to Rehberg a contribution against him. Another Democratic lobbyist told a client to take his name off a Rehberg fundraising event because it would be hurtful to his company, according to sources. The case K-Streeters are making to their clients: It will be a hard sell next year to get Baucus’s support on business-friendly tax perks set to expire or the Bush-era tax cuts that must get through his committee.
Got that, private businessmen? Dare to contribute to political figures whose beliefs align with your own, and you're liable to magically draw the short end of the stick when Democrats enter their next round of picking winners and losers in the tax code. This extortion scheme isn't just limited to Baucus and Montana. The most powerful man in the Senate is in on the act, too:
Reid has also been vocal at his weekly breakfast fundraisers — telling attendees that it’s important for Democrats to maintain the majority and support all of the Democratic candidates and take a broad view in political giving, according to sources familiar with the discussions. “Everybody is watching right now,” said Democratic consultant Penny Lee of Venn Strategies, noting that the majority in the Senate could be in play by just one or two seats. The former adviser to Reid said the Nevada Democrat has a special interest in Republican Sen. Dean Heller’s seat in Nevada, “but he’s also keeping a larger watch to see what happens.”
Ah yes, the ole' electoral "broad view." Allow me to summarize: "Republican X might represent your interests better than that Democrat Y -- who will probably vote to raise your cost of doing business, then demonize you in the press -- but we Democrats have long memories and will use our power to retaliate against any perceived affront, so act accordingly." Conservatives view tax reform as a necessary and long-overdue step to make the US tax code simpler and more predictable to foster economic growth. Liberals view it as the opportunity to enrich their friends and punish their enemies.
UPDATE - Surprise:
The Internal Revenue Service is embroiled in battles with tea party and other conservative groups who claim the government is purposely frustrating their attempts to gain tax-exempt status. The fight features instances in which the IRS has asked for voluminous details about the groups' postings on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, information on donors and key members' relatives, and copies of all literature they have distributed to their members, according to documents provided by some organizations. Last month, seven Democratic senators asked the IRS to investigate whether some groups were improperly using tax-exempt status — they didn't name any organizations — because those groups are "improperly engaged in a substantial or even a predominant amount of campaign activity."
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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