GOP panel urged to reject call for debt forgiveness

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MINNEAPOLIS | A Republican National Committee member from North Dakota will introduce a resolution at the GOP national platform committee meeting on Tuesday urging GOP lawmakers in Congress to ignore lobbyists for the “ONE Campaign.”

Critics call the project a dream effort by do-gooders to spend huge sums of money on poverty and disease around the world.

A goal of the ONE Campaign is to persuade the rich nations to forgive all debt owed them by some of the poorest countries. So far, it has succeeded in convincing the United States and others to forgive some debt from about half of the targeted countries.

The RNC should urge members of Congress to “report any suspected lobbying to the Internal Revenue Service,” Curley Hoagland, a longtime RNC member, said in his resolution opposing “ONE Vote ‘08,” backed by billionaire Democrat Bill Gates, but also by a bipartisan array of famous names, including Cindy McCain, Michelle Obama and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Mr. Curley says the campaign’s arm ONE Vote ‘08 is a “political committee working to influence specific legislation in Congress and soliciting commitments to support their agenda from all of the candidates for president.”

His resolution claims that ONE Vote “seeks to grant Bono, a foreign national rock star, and the super-rich Bill and Melinda Gates the power to earmark at least one percent of the United States annual budget for charitable purposes of their choosing.”

The ONE Campaign has a $1.75 million TV ad campaign featuring actor Matt Damon, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. McCain in the lead up to the Democratic and Republican conventions. Its ad highlights what supporters call “the lifesaving impact America is having in the poorest parts of the world, thanks to support from everyday Americans and political leaders from across the spectrum.”

ONE Campaign literature quotes Mr. Damon saying the campaign “isn’t about taking sides; it’s about taking action.”

“America is saving millions of lives in the poorest parts of the world - I saw it myself in Zambia and Tanzania - but people don’t know about the impact our investments are having,” he says.

The Hoagland resolution notes that the law bans U.S. political parties and candidates in the United States from accepting foreign contributions for political activity.

He says ONE Campaign is a tax-free, nonprofit group prohibited from contributing to political parties or candidates and from lobbying for special legislation or supporting or opposing candidates.

About the Author
Ralph Z. Hallow

Ralph Z. Hallow

Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.

 

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