Howard Rich's Blog

May 29, 2009

A New Enemies List?

From Investors Business Daily

Politics: The government’s bailout of Chrysler was key to saving a national icon too important to be lost. Or so we were told. But it’s looking more like a way to punish political opponents.

Earlier this month, Chrysler announced it was seeking permission from bankruptcy court to kill franchise agreements with 789 of its 3,181 dealers to save costs. Dealers, many of whom ran profitable businesses, told the media that the news was devastating.

Aside from the loss of a business, many of these franchisees may have something else in common: It looks like all the dealers who are losing their Chrysler franchises, with only a single exception found so far, have links to the Republican Party.

Chrysler, an American institution, is no longer being operated as a private-sector company. It’s being run by a task force appointed by the White House. So far, the government has halved Chrysler’s ad budget and forced it into a shotgun wedding with Italian carmaker Fiat.

Has it also directed the company to end its contracts with dealers who dared give contributions to the Republican Party and its candidates? The mainstream media seem less than curious. But the new media haven’t shied away from asking the question.

“Many of the closed dealers were also major donors to Republican candidates and political action committees, a review of campaign finance data from the Federal Election Commission shows,” Kenneth Timmerman wrote at

“How do we account for the fact millions of dollars were contributed to GOP candidates by Chrysler who are being closed by the government, but only one has been found so far that is being closed that contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008?” asked editorial page editor Mark Tapscott.

“The initial pass at the list of shuttered dealers showed they had donated, in the aggregate, millions to Republican candidates and PACs and a total of $200 to Barack Obama,” writes blogger Doug Ross.

WorldNetDaily reviewed all 789 of the dealerships the company wants to close. It found that “owners contributed at least $450,000 to Republican presidential candidates and the GOP, while only $7,970 was donated to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign and $2,200 was given to Sen. John Edwards’ campaign. Obama received a combined total of only $450 in donations.”

Has our political class grown so petty that it would use the power of government to punish the political opposition? We hope this isn’t true. If it is, the country’s in more trouble than we thought.


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