The donor list for Democratic grassroots campaign group MoveOn.org is actually pretty easy to find. It takes about 15 seconds, if you've got a broadband Internet connection and a familiarity with "the Google."


It's right here, courtesy of the Center for Responsive Politics.

That didn't stop MSNBC's Joe Scarborough from repeating and sharpening a claim first circulated by former Bush political adviser Karl Rove, who alleged on Fox News recently that "a lot of liberal groups" refuse to disclose their donors.

Scarborough's version of the attack was even more breathless: On Monday morning's show, he claimed that labor unions and MoveOn are hypocritical for behaving just like the Chamber.

"But the comparison is totally bogus," The Washington Post's Greg Sargent explained. "Under Federal law, unions disclose far more about their funding than other political groups do, and it just so happens that MoveOn's ads are funded by a Federal political committee that has to comply with the same disclosure requirements that candidate and party committees do."

After a commercial break, the former Republican congressman appeared with his co-hosts standing in front of the camera, offering an apology and retraction, explaining that he tends to "shoot from the hip."

The allegation that Republican-affiliated groups like the US Chamber of Commerce are pumping foreign money into US elections has become a campaign theme for Democrats, who are largely expected to lose ground in Congress this year.

Despite a recent and detailed report by the Center for American Progress that reveals how the Chamber's foreign affiliates donate to a general fund which is also tapped for political ad buying, most mainstream reports on the subject agree that no lawbreaking has been proven.

"The chamber says it does receive money from foreign sources, but that it amounts to only a small fraction of the chamber’s $200 million budget," noted FactCheck.org. "The chamber says none of the foreign money is used in its ads, and no evidence has been produced to show otherwise. Federal Election Commission opinions state that organizations taking in foreign money may make political donations legally, so long as they have 'a reasonable accounting method' to keep foreign money separate and have enough money from U.S. sources to cover the donations."

So far, the Chamber has made no efforts at disclosing its accounting methodology.

The use of foreign funds to influence US voters is against federal election law.

This video is from MSNBC's Morning Joe, broadcast Oct. 11, 2010.

Watch this video on iPhone/iPad