What would those look like, anyway?May 21, 2004 7:44 PM EDT ››› JAMISON FOSER & MARCIA KUNTZ
On May 21, ABC News Political Unit's morning news summary, The Note, reported, "USA Today's Walter Shapiro shares with us an inside look at the biweekly meeting organized by America Votes that is so vivid and insightful that it's sure to give Sean Hannity nightmares for at least a week, and the presence of one of John Kerry's advisers is sure to perk up the Sisyphusian ears of GOP superlawyer Ben Ginsberg."
Huh? "Sisyphusian ears"?
America Votes is "a non-partisan political organization formed in July 2003 for the purpose of increasing voter registration, education and participation in electoral politics. Founded by many of the largest grassroots organizations in the country, representing more than 20 million Americans, America Votes will utilize the strategic abilities and large membership bases of the partnering groups to break new ground in electoral politics." Benjamin L. Ginsberg is a partner in the law firm of Patton Boggs, LLP; serves as national counsel to the Bush-Cheney campaign; and currently represents the Republican National Committee in a complaint it has filed alleging illegal coordination between the Democratic Party and progressive 527s, including America Votes.
By referencing Ginsberg, The Note implied, without offering any evidence, that there might be something inappropriate or even illegal about a Kerry adviser attending the meeting; moreover, USA Today's Shapiro Noted a fact The Note Noted not: The Kerry adviser in question is pollster John Martilla, as Shapiro wrote: "an outside adviser to Kerry [who] presented the results of a national survey that he conducted on behalf of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. ... Aside from announcing his Kerry connection at the outset, Martilla carefully limited himself to discussing his poll for the Brady Campaign."
According to Shapiro, America Votes attorney Judy Corley explained Martilla's presence: "[T]here is nothing impermissible about Martilla wearing two hats. 'If you work for a candidate,' she said, 'you cannot use or convey information from or to that campaign."'