Echoing Couric, O'Reilly attacked Dean, falsely claiming Abramoff was "charged with giving [Democrats] other people's money"

››› ››› JOE BROWN

Bill O'Reilly attacked Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, falsely claiming that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff was "charged with giving [Democrats] other people's money." In fact, none of the charges to which Abramoff has pleaded guilty regard contributions his clients made to Democrats.

On the January 26 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff was "charged with giving [Democrats] other people's money." O'Reilly advanced this false claim while attacking Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean for comments Dean made on the January 25 broadcast of NBC's Today. Echoing Today host Katie Couric, who chided Dean for accurately stating that "[n]ot one dime of money from [lobbyist] Jack Abramoff ever went to any Democrat," O'Reilly played a clip of Dean's Today appearance, then stated: "Well, according to the Federal Elections [sic] Commission, Mr. Abramoff did funnel almost $2 million to Democrats. So is Dean lying?" The answer, O'Reilly asserted, "depends on how you view spin. Abramoff personally did not give any of his own money to Democrats, but he's charged with giving them other people's money. That's what Dean's hiding behind." O'Reilly called Dean "quite a guy," characterizing his statement as "[r]idiculous."

But O'Reilly's assertion that Abramoff was "charged with giving [Democrats] other people's money" is false. Abramoff pleaded guilty on January 3 to charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, and tax evasion and pleaded guilty January 4 to charges of conspiracy and wire fraud in a second, unrelated case. As Media Matters for America previously noted, the indictment of Abramoff in the first case alleged that Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) received from Abramoff "a stream of things of value," including a golf junket to Scotland, tickets to sporting events, meals at Abramoff's restaurant, and campaign contributions, in exchange for Ney's "agreement to perform a series of official acts to benefit defendant Abramoff's businesses, clients and others." But Abramoff was not "charged" with anything related to contributions his clients made to Democrats.

Moreover, as Media Matters noted in response to Couric's statements, Dean's assertion that "[n]ot one dime of money from Jack Abramoff ever went to any Democrat" is accurate. As the Center for Responsive Politics has documented, no evidence exists that Abramoff made campaign contributions to politicians outside the Republican Party, though Democrats did receive contributions from American Indian tribes that were clients of Abramoff.

From the January 26 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." Appearing on the Today show this morning, DNC chairman Howard Dean challenged an assertion that lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was charged with a variety of money-related crimes, was a nonpartisan offender.

DEAN [video clip]: It is a Republican finance scandal. Not one dime of money from Jack Abramoff ever went to any Democrat, not one dime.

O'REILLY: Well, according to the Federal Elections [sic] Commission, Mr. Abramoff did funnel almost $2 million to Democrats. So is Dean lying? Well, it depends on how you view spin. Abramoff personally did not give any of his own money to Democrats, but he's charged with giving them other people's money. That's what Dean's hiding behind. He's quite a guy, isn't he? Ridiculous? I think so. But as always, I could be wrong.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine, Abramoff Scandal
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