Elections

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  • Fox has Kirkpatrick in its crosshairs

    Blog ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

    Fox News today has repeatedly aired a report by correspondent William LaJeunesse which was nothing more than a misleading attack on Ann Kirkpatrick, a member of Congress from Arizona's 1stcongressional district. Kirkpatrick is a first-term congresswoman who doesn't seem to have a lot of national recognition, but nevertheless, LaJeunesse ran an almost five minute segment attacking her for running for reelection as a fiscal conservative, a stance that he seemed to feel was unjustified.

    LaJeunesse launched into a misleading hit piece on Kirkpatrick for claims she has made during her campaign, specifically that she ran against auto and wall street bailouts, and defied Democratic leadership in her opposition to TARP. Since Kirkpatrick was not in office when TARP was passed, she bases her opposition to the Wall Street bailouts on a January 2009 House resolution "dissapprov[ing] the obligation of any amount exceeding" the amount of money originally described in TARP. Her statement that she voted in opposition to auto bailouts is based on two votes against the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act, also known as the cash-for-clunkers program. As a candidate, Kirkpatrick expressed opposition to TARP, saying that it "unfairly helped Wall Street over families." Nevertheless, LaJeunesse portrayed her as deceptive and misleading. Watch:

  • Lies, damn lies, and stuff Karl Rove says

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Appearing on (where else?) Fox over the weekend, Karl Rove wove a web of obfuscation to defend his role with a $50 million GOP slush fund and attack President Obama for calling attention to it.

    In a speech, President Obama said that "two groups, funded and advised by Karl Rove," have been huge players in support of the Republican candidate in the Illinois Senate race. On Fox News Sunday, Rove passionately responded. Note what Rove denies, and doesn't deny:

    Rove vigorously denied having personally put up the money for the two groups in question, the 527 group American Crossroads and its 501(c)(4) non-profit arm, Crossroads GPS. Instead, he said he is "helping to raise money for these groups" and "absolutely doing everything I can to raise money for them." He then attempted to direct the Fox audience to American Crossroads' web site so they could donate to the group. This was apparently too much even for Bret Baier, who repeatedly said "all right" over Rove's recitation of the URL.

    I'll leave it to someone else to explain the political distinction between Rove personally contributing the money, and lining up the donations from billionaire Texas oil barons. He's still providing the group's funding, whether it's coming from his bank account or not.

    What did Rove avoid denying? Obama's statement that Rove has "advised" the groups. So is he? Is he picking the races the groups are targeting? Defining lines of attack? Approving the attack ads?

    Fox has been utterly unconcerned that their top "political analyst," who regularly appears on air unopposed by any Democrat to discuss the 2010 elections, is simultaneously raising money that is being used to bolster Republican campaigns. But you think they'd care if he's guiding American Crossroads' decisions on which races to spend that money on.

    If Karl Rove is reading his group's polling of Senate race, picking out the best paths of attack on Democrats, and simultaneously channeling those attacks into TV ads and his Fox News commentary, you would think that even Fox would have to respond.

  • The New York Times ignores key facts about the Chamber of Commerce's foreign funding

    Blog ››› ››› CHRIS HARRIS

    Last week, the Center for American Progress Action Fund's Think Progress revealed that partisan attack ads from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are funded in part by foreign corporations seeking to influence America's midterm elections. Their report clearly ruffled some feathers.

    At first, the Chamber attempted to deflect from the story by attempting to discredit Think Progress through talk radio-esque attacks on George Soros. Seeing that wasn't working, the Chamber's spokespeople decided to ignore large parts of the allegations, instead focusing on the role of "AmChams," overseas business councils.

    Examining the charges, the New York Times fell for the Chamber's line, writing:

    [The Chamber's chief lobbyist Bruce] Josten said the Chamber of Commerce had 115 foreign member affiliates in 108 countries, who pay a total of less than $100,000 in membership dues that go into its general fund.

    The group's total budget is more than $200 million, and Mr. Josten said the group had safeguards to segregate the small fraction generated overseas from other accounts to comply with federal law and avoid bleeding into political spending.

    But these AmChams are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to foreign money lining the Chamber's pockets. As Think Progress' Faiz Shakir noted:

    In a statement provided to Sargent, the Chamber reveals that foreign-based "AmChams pay nominal dues to the Chamber -- approximately $100,000 total across all 115 AmChams." But "AmChams" are only a small piece of the puzzle.

    Most of the Chamber's foreign sources of funds come from large multi-national corporations who are headquartered abroad, like BP and Siemens. Direct contributions from foreign firms also are accepted under the auspices of the Chamber's "Business Councils" located in various foreign countries.

    Rather than letting the Chamber of Commerce get away with the ol' AmCham straw man argument, the New York Times should push past the spin and get to the truth. As the "paper of record," it has a responsibility to tell Americans who is behind the Chamber's efforts to defeat progressive candidates.

    The always-helpful Shakir went ahead and posted some readymade questions for journalists to pose to the Chamber:

    1) How many foreign sources of funding does the Chamber have? The Washington Post's Greg Sargent received this statement from a Chamber spokeswoman: "[Of] the Chamber's 300,000 members, a relative handful are non-U.S. based companies." How many is a "relatively handful," and how much do they contribute?

    2) Are the foreign funds being directed into the same general account that is used to pay for partisan attack ads? Again, the Post's Greg Sargent pressed on this point. The Chamber, which is running more than $10 million in political advertising just this week (the largest expenditure in one week by an outside group), said, "We are not obligated to discuss our internal accounting procedures."

  • Fox answers my question about their coverage of Rove's GOP slush fund

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    On Tuesday, I noted that two nonpartisan campaign finance watchdogs had asked the IRS to investigate whether Crossroads GPS -- a GOP slush fund promoted by Karl Rove -- had violated its tax status through excessive electioneering. I concluded the post by saying, "It will be interesting to see if Fox chooses to ignore this story altogether, or bring Rove on to spin for his group."

    Well, Fox fooled me; they did neither. Instead, the network's Megyn Kelly hosted Dana Perino -- not only Rove's current colleague at Fox News, but also his former colleague at the Bush White House -- to discuss the allegations. Rove has reportedly praised Perino as "one of the most talented professionals I've seen."

    Oh, and of course, neither Kelly nor Perino mentioned the allegations by the campaign finance groups, who issued similar calls for action after the 2004 election against Democratic-linked groups, resulting in more than $1 million in fines.

    Instead, they focused on identical allegations by Democratic Sen. Max Baucus. That way, you see, they could call it a politically-motivated smear tactic.

    Seems like a tactic straight from the Rove playbook.

  • Damage control: Fox defends Rove's GOP slush fund from potential IRS audit

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Fox's Megyn Kelly hosted Dana Perino to portray calls for an IRS audit of a Republican slush fund promoted by Karl Rove as a politically motivated "conspiracy," ignoring that such calls have been issued by non-partisan organizations that called for similar audits of Democratic-leaning groups in 2004. They also furthered the bogus claim that the White House illegally accessed the tax information of Koch Industries.

  • Fox News "Democrat" Schoen to do fundraiser ... for a Republican

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    On Fox News, where hosts and "political analysts" openly endorse and raise money for Republicans, even the "Democratic" side is raising money for the GOP.

    Today, the congressional campaign of John Gomez (R-NY) announced that it will hold a fundraiser this weekend featuring "top political strategist Doug Schoen." Schoen is a Fox News contributor who is usually identified as a "Democratic pollster" or "Democratic consultant." A brief look:

    During this election cycle, Schoen has been on television and in the opinion pages purporting to give Democrats advice on how they can help their election chances. For instance, his most recent op-ed on FoxNews.com is titled, "What Dems Must Do If They Want to Hold the Senate." In April, "Democratic pollsters" Schoen and Pat Caddell - himself a Fox News "Democrat" -- took to the Washington Post to urge Democrats to "start embracing an agenda that speaks to the broad concerns of the American electorate ... the agenda that is driving the Tea Party movement and one that has the capacity to motivate a broadly based segment of the electorate."

    Schoen's Gomez event appears to be yet another appearance linked to Fox News host Sean Hannity. As Media Matters previously documented, Hannity reportedly promised New York Republican and Conservative Party leaders he would "do all he could" to promote Gomez, help him fundraise and bring in headliners for events if they gave Gomez their party nods. In September, Newsday reported that "Gomez arranged [Fox News contributor Newt] Gingrich's [fundraising] visit through childhood friend and TV host Sean Hannity." Gomez has also drawn support from Hannity pals Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Sarah Palin, and Mark Levin.

    Schoen is a frequent guest on Hannity's Fox News program. According to a search of Nexis, Schoen has appeared on Hannity's Fox News program 27 times in the past year.

    So now that Schoen is fundraising for the GOP, will Fox News still identify him as a "Democratic pollster"?

  • FoxPAC: Santorum forms Iowa PAC

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Another Fox News employee who apparently has their eye on the 2012 GOP presidential nomination is reportedly taking a hand in Iowa politics. According to The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, Fox News contributor Rick Santorum is forming a political action committee in Iowa to boost Republican candidates there.

    Maybe Santorum -- and fellow Fox employees Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich, all of whom have spent time there in recent months -- just really, really likes the state of Iowa and thinks the state's GOP deserves special attention.

    But it seems far more likely that Santorum -- as well as Palin, Huckabee, and Gingrich - is trying to improve his position for a 2012 presidential run, and thus is raising his profile for Iowa's first-in-the-nation primary.

    Together with John Bolton, Fox has five potential GOP presidential candidates on the payroll, "speak[ing] through" the network and raising money for Republican candidates. And yesterday, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch explained that his company gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association because of his "friendship with John Kasich" - the former Fox host currently running for governor of Ohio.

    FoxPAC just keeps rolling along.