Friday, January 13, 2006

DEAN IS RIGHT: NO DEMS RECEIVED MONEY FROM ABRAMOFF

From Media Matters.org
NO DEMS RECEIVED MONEY FROM ABRAMOFF

MSNBC's Scarborough falsely claimed news outlets proved Dean wrong on Abramoff and Democrats
Summary: MSNBC's Joe Scarborough characterized a factually accurate statement by Howard Dean -- that no congressional Democrats had received campaign contributions from lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- as a "snow job," and falsely claimed that The Washington Post and "other news outlets" had proven Dean's statement wrong. In fact, Dean's statement in an appearance on CNN was entirely accurate, and neither CNN nor the Post has challenged or refuted it.
On the January 10 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, host Joe Scarborough claimed that The Washington Post and "other news outlets" had proven wrong a statement by Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean concerning the Jack Abramoff scandal. In fact, Dean was correct when he told CNN host Wolf Blitzer that no Democrats took contributions directly from the former Washington lobbyist. Thus far, only a refuted Washington Times report -- published a day after Scarborough's claim -- asserted that Democratic lawmakers were part of the Justice Department's investigation.

During the January 8 broadcast of Late Edition, Dean said to Blitzer: "There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, not one, not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican. Every person under investigation is a Republican. Every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money. And we've looked through all of those FEC reports to make sure that's true."

As Media Matters for America has noted, Dean's statement concerning campaign contributions is accurate -- no Democrat received any contribution directly from Abramoff as a search of the Center for Responsive Politics' database (here, here and here) shows. Regarding the investigation, a January 11 Washington Times article by Jerry Seper and Audrey Hudson reported that according to unnamed sources familiar with the investigation, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) were on a "first tier" of five lawmakers being scrutinized for ties to Abramoff and his clients. However, a January 12 Las Vegas Review-Journal by Tony Batt reported that a source close to the probe said the Times story was not accurate, and that "the Justice Department does not have a list of lawmakers who are being investigated," as the Times sources claimed.

From Scarborough's closing statement on the January 10 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:

SCARBOROUGH: Americans don't trust Congress, and why should they? The money scandal involving ├╝ber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff makes Capitol Hill smell like a sewer. Republicans have a reason to be very nervous about the upcoming elections, because Abramoff is closely tied to their leaders, but Democratic head Howard Dean proved once again that, when it comes to saving Republicans, the GOP has no better friend than their political enemies. This week, Dean claimed that Republicans were the only ones touched by this scandal and that Democrats were pure as the driven snow. But The Washington Post and other news outlets proved that it's Dean guilty of the snow job. Nobody is clean here, and both parties are going to pay for it in the fall.

In fact, no report by the Post, CNN, or any other news organization includes any evidence to suggest, much less "prove[]", that Dean is "guilty of the snow job." Indeed, following Dean's Late Edition appearance, two online chats conducted by the Post referenced the discussion, but neither Howard Kurtz, CNN's Reliable Sources host and the Post's media critic, nor Thomas B. Edsall, Post national political reporter, took issue with Dean's statements.

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