By Carole on Oct 11, 2010
The donor disclosure issue revved up by President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee last week took center stage at Wisconsin's senatorial debate tonight between Democratic incumbent Senator Russ Feingold and his Republican challenger, Ron Johnson. But instead of the Obama/DNC one-sided attacks at rallies with pre-screened attendees and in advertisements, Senator Feingold's feigned outrage was met with a swift and decisive response.
During their second debate in four days, Senator Feingold called on Mr. Johnson to demand that shadowy third-party groups running attack ads disclose who is funding them. After reminding his opponent that third-party groups have a right to free speech, Mr. Johnson then offered what he called a better solution: "Total transparency on the Internet" where all donors' names are disclosed. (source)
And so at least one Democrat found out that the latest desperate move by Obama & Company - insinuating without any proof that political opponents have accepted "shadowy" or downright illegal campaign contributions - doesn't do any good when those opponents are on stage beside you and can hold up a metaphorical mirror.
After the debate, Mr. Johnson made sure to remind reporters that Senator Feingold is himself the beneficiary of third-party fundraising, such as the left-leaning MoveOn.org and labor unions. Those organizations, like the groups running ads favorable to Mr. Johnson, are not required to publish their donor information.
According to the latest poll of likely voters, Senator Feingold is trailing by 12 points (54% - 42%) in his attempt to win a fourth Senate term with just three weeks before the election. It's doubtful his performance in tonight's debate will help him with that.
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