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.
The Washington Post falsely reported that the wife of acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt "does not lobby Congress." In fact, Abigail Blunt is a registered lobbyist for Philip Morris, as she was in 2002, when Blunt tried to modify Homeland Security legislation in a way that would have benefited Philip Morris.
An Associated Press article on the contest between Reps. John Boehner and Roy Blunt to replace Rep. Tom DeLay as House majority leader did not mention the ethics issues surrounding both men.
On Hannity & Colmes, an onscreen caption falsely listed guest Jimmy Hayes -- a former U.S. representative from Louisiana -- as a Democrat. In fact, Hayes became a Republican in 1995 before leaving the House of Representatives. Co-host Sean Hannity brought on Hayes and former Rep. George Nethercutt, both Republicans, as the only two guests to discuss money Democrats have taken from clients or employers of disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, as well as to assess the "formula for success for the Democratic Party to win in 2006."
Appearing on Hardball to discuss the Jack Abramoff scandal, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough failed to disclose that he received $1,000 from Jack Abramoff and other contributions from Abramoff's firms.
Rush Limbaugh baselessly accused Sen. Carl Levin of being tainted by the Jack Abramoff scandal for accepting contributions from an Indian tribe. The newspaper articles Limbaugh cited to back up his claim offer no evidence linking Abramoff-directed contributions to Levin's efforts to obtain a federal grant for the tribe.
On Hardball, host Chris Matthews repeatedly mentioned Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) decision to donate to charity $2,000 in campaign contributions received from American Indian tribes represented by lobbyist and felon Jack Abramoff, yet virtually ignored the $6,000 and $69,000 in campaign contributions received from Abramoff and his clients by President Bush and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), respectively -- contributions both have also pledged to donate to charity.
Fox News correspondent Major Garrett stated that "neither [former House Majority Leader Tom] DeLay nor his aides have been charged" in the investigation surrounding former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In fact, while none of DeLay's current aides has been charged, DeLay's former communications director has pleaded guilty to federal charges of bribery and fraud, and another former DeLay aide has reportedly been implicated.
Both Peggy Noonan and Newt Gingrich claimed that the Abramoff scandal is worse for Republicans because Democrats are expected to be corrupt.
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The New York Times reported that President Bush and other Republican lawmakers were moving to return or donate to charity campaign contributions by lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the wake of his plea agreement. However, the Times omitted any reference to the more than $100,000 Abramoff reportedly raised in his capacity as a Bush-Cheney campaign "Pioneer," which the Republican National Committee, apparently speaking for the Bush campaign, said the campaign has no plans to donate or return.
In reporting on Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s refusal to recuse himself in two cases involving companies in which he owned stock, The New York Times reported without challenge Alito's assertion that his pledge to recuse himself had been limited to a certain period of time after his confirmation. In fact, when Alito pledged under oath that he would recuse himself from cases involving certain companies, he did not qualify the pledge in any way or even suggest that it was time-limited.
Casting the Jack Abramoff scandal as bipartisan, the media have conflated two categories of conduct: 1) the legal receipt of campaign contributions; and 2) other possible illegal conduct including the receipt of campaign contributions in exchange for something.
Ed Henry falsely claimed that Sen. Byron Dorgan accepted and "had to give back" campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff and his wife; in fact, there is no record Dorgan ever received contributions from either of them.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews minimized the Jack Abramoff scandal, saying: "It's not going to be part of a larger story of Washington this year, I think."
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In a December 15 Washington Post article, Jonathan Weisman wrote that Bush's recent statement that he believes Tom DeLay is innocent was an "apparent inconsistency," with how the White House has "deflected questions" about the CIA leak investigation "by saying they could not comment on ongoing investigations." Similarly, Fox News' Major Garrett purported to identify the "difference" in how the White House handled questions about the DeLay and Plame investigations. In fact, in both cases the administration made a premature statement presuming that a White House ally was innocent before an investigation was launched.