Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Could Head of U.S. Chamber of Commerce Wind Up in the Slammer?

A campaign to bring criminal charges against the CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is gaining steam--and national attention.

Even Fox News has noticed the campaign against Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, which was launched by the progressive advocacy group Velvet Revolution (VR) in October.

VR is offering $200,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Donohue. This all reminds me of a splendid recent piece by Larisa Alexandrovna of at-Largely, explaining Donohue's plans to undermine the rights of regular Americans on behalf of business interests. They originated with a fascinating memo out of the Nixon years.

The Velvet Revolution campaign got the attention of Roll Call in yesterday's edition. In a statement at its stopthechamber.com site, VR states:

Mr. Donohue and the U.S. Chamber have been publicly accused of criminal activity in complaints filed by attorneys and Attorneys General in numerous states, and also by non-profits such as Citizens for Reform and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Public Citizen. StopTheChamber.com now seeks direct evidence that will stand up in a court of law--documents, affidavits, and testimony--implicating Mr. Donohue for crimes including fraud, tax violations, campaign finance violations, money laundering, insider trading, election tampering, and criminal manipulations of pension funds. StopTheChamber.com wants to hear from insiders and whistleblowers possessing information not already in the public domain.

Is stopthechamber.com serious about this? You be the judge:

Specifically, StopTheChamber.com is seeking evidence pertaining to the period of Mr. Donohue's tenure at the Chamber and his membership on the boards of Sunrise Senior Living, Union Pacific, Qwest Communications (until 2005) and XM Satellite Radio (until 2008).

Sounds serious to me. And this wanted poster looks serious.

Kevin Zeese, an attorney and spokesperson for stopthechamber.com sure sounds serious:

The Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of Tom Donohue, has used pay-to-play, opaque, dishonest and unaccountable practices to corrupt all branches of Government and the elections of our representatives. We have been investigating the unethical and criminal conduct of Donohue and the Chamber for quite some time and now we are asking more insiders to come forward with documents and other hard evidence to add to our request for a criminal prosecution. Our reward is meant to assist both law enforcement authorities and those who make the courageous decision to expose the Chamber’s criminal wrongdoing.

Alabama has been a primary testing ground for Donohue's corrupt tactics. And he was in Birmingham just last Friday to address his acolytes at the Business Council of Alabama.

Maybe the next time Donohue visits our fair state, federal authorities will be prepared to arrest his greedy butt. Can you imagine Tom Donohue being handcuffed and dragged off the dais at an Alabama business function? Sort of brings a smile to your face.

If Kevin Zeese has his way, Donohue might be arrested before he returns to Alabama. Reports Roll Call:

Zeese says he’s confident he’ll get the goods on Donohue.

“There are enough people that are angry at [Tom Donohue], they’ll tell us what’s going on,” Zeese said, noting that more ads are in the works. “We’ve begun to get tips, and we’re investigating them.”

What about the Nixon-era memo that inspired Donohue's ruthless campaign on behalf of American business? It was written in 1971 by Lewis Powell, who later was rewarded with a judgeship by President Richard Nixon. Here is how Larisa Alexandrovna explains it:

The Powell memo, named after Lewis Powell, its author--whom Nixon later rewarded with a judgeship--was written in 1971 to the then-director committee at the Chamber,Eugene B. Sydnor. The document essentially argued for a fascist take-over of politics by big business through dirty tricks, front groups designed to influence domestic policy, media ownership and propaganda, and a whole lot more. Powell was himself on the board of 11 different corporations at the time of its authoring:

Though Powell's memo was not the sole influence, the Chamber and corporate activists took his advice to heart and began building a powerful array of institutions designed to shift public attitudes and beliefs over the course of years and decades. The memo influenced or inspired the creation of the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academe, and other powerful organizations. Their long-term focus began paying off handsomely in the 1980s, in coordination with the Reagan Administration's "hands-off business" philosophy.

You can read the full Lewis Powell memo here. In it, Powell discusses the "enemies" of business and how they should be attacked. The memo had a profound impact on Tom Donohue. Alexandrovna explains:

The culprits Powell is describing as enemies, radicals, "leftists" are people who tried to reform the way business operates, including taxes, consumer safety, and so forth. So Powell and the Chamber set forth to create the "guerrilla warfare" Powell thinks was needed. I suggest you read the whole memo.

Now, Tom Donohue--who is very close friend of Karl Rove and was a key adviser to President Bush on business issues--which has resulted in the massive corruption of unregulated banks and other institutions that we have to deal with now - is a big fan of the Powell memo. More than that even, he is a big fan of laundering political contributions through the Chamber and pouring them into state judicial elections-- against the law in some of these states, including Mississippi.

Before Donohue and Rove combined for a campaign to take over state courts in Mississippi, they did it in Alabama.

Is it a coincidence that the two most prominent political prosecutions of the George W. Bush era--those involving Don Siegelman and Paul Minor--took place in Alabama and Mississippi, respectively? Not at all. Political prosecutions of prominent Democrats are a natural by-product of Donohue's campaign to subvert our justice system. And it all grew out of the Lewis Powell memo.

Does Velvet Revolution have the right man in the crosshairs? Oh, yes. Regular Americans should be pulling for VR to nail him.


Anonymous said...

Would be nice, but we all know how Alabama justice operates. Not gonna happen. Perhaps in a northeastern or west-coast state.

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