President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is publicly identifying donors to Mitt Romney’s bid to unseat him in a move designed to intimidate, revealing the names on a website, Wall Street Journal
columnist Kimberley Strassel reported.
Strassel writes that in the last week, the Obama campaign posted on a website an item titled, "Behind the curtain: A brief history of Romney's donors."
“In the post, the Obama campaign named and shamed eight private citizens who had donated to his opponent,” she said. "Describing the givers as all having ‘less-than-reputable records,’ the post went on to make the extraordinary accusations that ‘quite a few’ have also been ‘on the wrong side of the law’ and profiting at ‘the expense of so many Americans.’
“These are people like Paul Schorr and Sam and Jeffrey Fox, investors who the site outed for the rime of having ‘outsourced’ jobs. T. Martin Fiorentino is scored for his work for a firm that forecloses on homes. Louis Bacon [a hedge-fund manager], Kent Burton [a ‘lobbyist’] and Thomas O'Malley [an energy CEO] stand accused of profiting from oil. Frank VanderSloot, the CEO of a home-products firm, is slimed as a ‘bitter foe of the gay rights movement.’"
While writing that all are “wealthy individuals,” Strassel notes that they are nonetheless private citizens, do not hold office and are not criminals.
"We don't tolerate presidents or people of high power to do these things," Theodore Olson, the former U.S. solicitor general, tells Strassel. "When you have the power of the presidency — the power of the IRS, the INS, the Justice Department, the DEA, the SEC — what you have effectively done is put these guys' names up on 'Wanted' posters in government offices."
Strassel writes that the president has taken a “cutthroat approach to intimidating those who might give to his opponents.”
“He's targeted insurers, oil firms, and Wall Street — letting it be known that those who oppose his policies might face political or legislative retribution,” she said. “He lectured the Supreme Court for giving companies more free speech and (falsely) accused the Chamber of Commerce of using foreign money to bankroll U.S. elections. The White House even ginned up an executive order (yet to be released) to require companies to list political donations as a condition of bidding for government contracts. Companies could bid but lose out for donating to Republicans. Or they could quit donating to the GOP — Mr. Obama's real aim.”
Strassel concludes by writing: “Politics is rough, but a president has obligations that transcend those of a candidate. He swore an oath to protect and defend a Constitution that gives every American the right to partake in democracy, free of fear of government intimidation or disfavored treatment. If Mr. Obama isn't going to act like a president, he bolsters the argument that he doesn't deserve to be one.”
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