October 26th, 2010
12:48 PM ET

Letters to the President: #645 'Uncovering the secret money'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama and his fellow Dems (especially the big important ones) are teeing off on the influence of “secret money” in the election. I once found $1.35 under the seat of my car. That was kind of secret money to me.

Dear Mr. President,

Oh what a delightful way to start my week! I was given the task of tracking down some of these groups that you have complained about so much, the ones that take money from anonymous donors and then spin it into campaign gold, which of course means vicious attack ads.

Related: Dirty Politics: Opening Pandora's cash box

I realize that your gripe has been with Republicans who do this, but your Democrats are far from squeaky clean. According to the folks who track such things, outside groups have spent about $200 million helping out the GOP, but the Dems have scored about $100 million. So, you know, just saying, when you’re swinging the bat at that particular piñata you’ll want to be careful that you don’t take out a friend.

See? This is what rips through both parties like rust in an old Chevy. Seems like every time one side accuses the other of some kind of wrong, it takes about six minutes before it becomes clear that the accusers are also in it up to their necks.

I think a lot of voters would agree with you that it’s a problem for people to be secretly pouring money into elections with no public accounting for who they are or what they might want in return. I mean, if we were talking about a police department, we’d have a name for those hidden “donations.” But when your own party is playing the same game, any complaint your make is weakened. And when you lodge those complaints precisely at the time that your side is being badly beaten at this game, it makes you look less like defenders of justice than sore losers.

The simple equation: If you want to lead the charge toward driving all this secret cash out of elections, you have to attack the problem just as vigorously where it helps you, as where it hurts you. That’s the essence of credibility on such measures.

But then, what would I know about credibility, eh? I’m in the news media! Ha!

Give me a call if you have some time. I’d love to get your prediction on what the next few days will bring. Hey, one week to the big vote!


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Karen Conine

    Will that thing some of you call a president, reveal who gave him "secret" money and still is? By the way is he proud of the way the Our Country is now? I'll answer that-yes he is. Anger, frustration, desperation, living in proverty. Most American's fall through the loop holes of his health care reform bill. If you can get insurance it can cost you 1/4 of your salary. Angry as a child/adult-he now wants to get back at real American's. Please, God let us survive until January, 2013. Protect Our Country and those who are worse off than us. To all American's always, excerise your right and duty to vote. Vote like you are the owner of a company (we are the owners of America) research and investigate their background, check out their resume, do not vote race, we are an equal opportunity country. Vote experience in those who support your views and ideas. Signed-disgusted, life long democrat-who checked out his experience, and for the 1st time in my life did not pull the democrat lever for president.

    October 26, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
  2. Kevin

    The best government money can buy.

    October 26, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  3. Jean Kilchenstein

    For the Supreme Court to invite whomever to put their millions toward influencing the elections of this Country is a direct slap in the face to all true Americans. In fact it smacks of treason. Corporations should have no influence upon the will of the people. Shareholders in Corporations should vote how they please, the Corporation is not a person & should have no say in the voting process.

    October 26, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  4. Tailee

    I love this guy....

    October 26, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    With all the secret contributions from big business and the like, it's no wonder we have a Congress that does not represent the interests of the average citizen. We don't even have a chance to vote for someone that would represent us better because with the donated money the "deck" is stacked with people who big business and other interests like. It's going to be hard "to take the country back" with this sort of financing going on. If campaign donations were limited to registered voters, big business would not find it so easy to stack the deck because a corporation is not a voter – the president of that corporation is a voter so the donation would be from him I suppose – but the corporation itself can't vote; so it shouldn't be allowed to donate. Too bad the Supreme Court didn't see it that way and made the ruling they did. IF this election is bad, just imagine how bad the election in 2012 will be for President.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  6. Joann

    Tom, I thought your coverage on 'secret' money was biased...the donations from AFSCME are not secret...they are disclosed...if, a person doesn't know who they are, then they are uniformed....the monies donated under the table is a science for Carl Rove and his cronies...something the hypocrit cited as wrong, back in '04......

    October 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm |