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October 8, 2010

Chamber of Commerce promoting Kratovil

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, under fire from President Barack Obama and the Democrats for allegedly using foreign money to influence next month's election, is on the air in Maryland with a substantial wallop of new advertising on behalf of freshman Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil.

The big business lobby dropped $168,841, according to Federal Election Commission records, on its buy on behalf of Kratovil in Maryland's First District, which spans the Chesapeake Bay to take in portions of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties, plus the entire Eastern Shore.

Kratovil recently won the endorsement of the Chamber, which has now put its money behind his re-election run in one of the tightest House contests in the nation. The congressman from the Eastern Shore is being challenged by Republican state Sen. Andy Harris, a veteran lawmaker from Baltimore County.

The new advertising is part of a national buy of some $2 million by the Chamber on behalf of Blue Dog Democrats like Kratovil. Democratic strategist Steve McMahon, who gained national attention at a media adviser to Howard Dean's presidential campaign, produced the ads, according to FEC records.

The new ads would seem to undercut Democratic attempts to make an issue out of the Chamber's spending, which largely favors Republicans, or at least muddy the matter.

On Friday evening, House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who has worked hard to re-elect Kratovil, issued a broad-gauged attack that included these lines:

"This Fall, corporate special interests are trying to drown out the voices of the American people with a flood of negative advertising funded by shadowy front groups. These groups are taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that has enabled them to collect unlimited and undisclosed money from powerful, wealthy and sometimes foreign corporations – all without telling anyone where the money is coming from. The American people deserve to know exactly who is funding nasty attack ads and trying to sway their elections.

"...well-funded special interest groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the Chamber of Commerce are pumping in millions of dollars, possibly from foreign interests and foreign governments, to try and overwhelm the voices of average Americans."

Our Tribune colleagues in the Washington bureau have more details on the national picture here.

Sharp-eyed readers of the Maryland Politics blog may have noticed that a reader named Mary first mentioned the Chamber ads in a comment posted just before 9 a.m. today.

Posted by Paul West at 5:17 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Candidate Watch 2010


Another example of ESTABLISHMENT Washington being out of touch with Main Street America.

Kratovil voted "no" on final passage of Obamacare. That seems to be the linchpin for the Chamber's endorsement (or so goes the TV ad they are running in support of Kratovil). He now is now reported as saying he won't vote to repeal Obamacare.

There is no mention of Kratovil's votes in support of the Cap and Trade energy tax (CBO says each family can expect to pay an additional $1600 per year in energy costs as a result of this tax) or all of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid "stimulus" and bailout bills.

Perhaps the Chamber will be happy during the lame duck session when Kratovil votes for Card Check. Remember, he's received HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS from Big Labor's PACs. That makes the Chambers' $168k look like chump change.

The Chamber blew this one. I'm only glad I no longer serve on our local Chamber of Commerce board. There's no way I could explain this one to our membership.

Just this morning (Saturday) I spotted yet another pro-Kratovil ad from the US Chamber of Commerce that specifically attacks health care reform. seems the Chamber is using Kratovil to pave the way for post-election efforts to deny funding or derail reform by some other means. Is this on Kratovil's agenda? If so, what's the difference between him and Andy Harris?

Chamber of Commerce support for Frank Kratovil is despicable. The man is a self promoting liberal whose votes are not based on any thought except how to keep his seat. The Chamber can not count on anything from him. Andy Harris is a better bet.

Chamber is hypocritical. Nice that Frank K voted against Obamacare on the floor; he voted for it in committee. But more importantly, he votes for big spending that will have to be paid for by big taxes. Where is he on Obama's passion to tax the "rich"? That's what the Chamber should worry about. The tax structure in the US in archaic compared with other nations; the rates on capital gains ridiculous. One reason for our recession. Harris knows this but K attacks any effort to reform tax system. ashthe

Didactic1, aka October 11, 2010 12:05 PM -- I am going to assume good faith, and that you are just mistaken after hearing some bad information. Otherwise, your statement is just another BLATANT LIE, easily disproved.

"He voted for [the health care bill] in committee."

Kratovil sits on Armed Services, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, none of which had jurisdiction over the health care reform bill. It never came up for a vote in any of the aforementioned committees, and he voted NO when it came up before the full House.

Your statement is just more "death panel" lies from the Right, who can't seem to win without deceit and misrepresentation.

I simply take the Chamber's endorsement, and that of the NRA, for Kratovil as indication that he IS a conservative Democrat and indeed an independent voice in the noticeable lock-step Republican voting in Congress.

Of further interest may be the wording used to describe Kratovil (and Harris) in yesterday's Aegis endorsement of Kratovil for re-election.

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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