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Giannoulias Slams Kirk Over 'Beijing Fundraiser'

Kirk: Fundraiser Only Had 12 Participants, Was Conducted By Skype

CHICAGO (CBS) - Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias is accusing Republican opponent Mark Kirk of "economic treason" as the two sides skirmish over a small fundraiser in the race for President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Craig Dellimore Reports


Giannoulias criticized Kirk on Thursday for raising money from Americans in China and accused him of then voting to ship American jobs overseas.

"This is politics at its worst, and the people of Illinois deserve an explanation for why you think it's acceptable to put China's interests ahead of America's economic interests," Giannoulias said. "To me, this is egregious and it can be called nothing other than an act of economic treason."

Kirk, an active U.S. Naval reservist, reacted sharply over his opponent's choice of words.

"To be accused of treason by a man who's never worn the uniform and never served in the military a day in his life is really beyond the pale," Kirk fired back.

Kirk's campaign says the May fundraiser was held via Skype call with 12 Americans working in Beijing and raised less than $6,000.

He went on to point out that in 2008, President Barack Obama held two campaign fundraisers with American citizens living in Beijing.

The campaign says Giannoulias is wrongly connecting the fundraiser and Kirk's vote against a bill that they say also increased spending and debt.

Kirk's U.S. Senate campaign has been plagued by strange internal leaks for months. And now we have one that includes a plan for a "Bejing fundraiser," which was held the day before a House vote to close tax loopholes for companies that send jobs out of the country.

The details of the "Beijing fundraiser" were released on Oct. 10 by Rich Miller at the Capitol Fax blog. He discovered a campaign calendar that referenced a "Beijing FR," or fundraiser on May 27. Like Kirk himself, Miller pointed out in his blog that the fundraiser was conducted by Skype and had only 12 people.

But questions arose whether there was any connection between the fundraiser and Kirk's vote the following day on H.R. 4213, a bill that would close a tax loophole allowing companies to take advantage of a U.S. foreign tax credit when they do business overseas. Kirk voted against the bill.

In response to those claims, Kirk said there was no connection between the fundraiser and his vote.

Kirk said the he voted against the tax loophole bill was that, "The bill did a lot more than what the Democrats claimed. It increased spending by $102 billion, increased taxes by $47 billion and added $54 billion to the debt. "

Finally, Kirk said Giannoulias was the only candidate who has actually left the country to raise campaign money, going to Canada to in July to raise money from trial lawyers.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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