Pulitzer-winner Schmidt falsely claimed Abramoff gave "a lot of money to Democrats"

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

On C-SPAN's Q&A, Washington Post staff writer Susan Schmidt -- one of three Post reporters to be awarded a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for investigating the influence-peddling schemes of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- repeated the false claim that Abramoff gave "a lot of money to Democrats." In fact, as Media Matters has noted repeatedly, no Democrats received contributions from Abramoff directly.

On an April 19 rebroadcast* of the January 15 edition of C-SPAN's Q&A, Washington Post staff writer Susan Schmidt -- one of three Post reporters to receive a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for investigating the influence-peddling schemes of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- repeated the false claim that Abramoff gave "a lot of money to Democrats." In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted repeatedly, Democrats received contributions from Abramoff's clients and associates, but none from Abramoff directly.

From the April 19 edition of Q&A:

SCHMIDT: Well, that's, you know -- I think that some of the elected officials don't know how far this thing goes in their own parties, both Republican and Democrat. The Democrats have not been -- a few have been sort out there strident about it. But there's a deafening silence on the part of a lot of people, and that's because, actually, Abramoff had -- was giving a lot of money to Democrats, too.

Schmidt's own reporting does not support her assertion on Q&A. In a December 5, 2004, article, Schmidt reported that "some prominent Democrats, including former senator Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.), Sens. Harry M. Reid (Nev.) and Byron L. Dorgan (N.D.), were among beneficiaries of the largest campaign contributions from Abramoff's associates and clients." As Media Matters noted, Post ombudsman Deborah Howell, in her January 15 column, mischaracterized Schmidt's article, falsely claiming -- twice -- that Abramoff "had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties." Post media writer Howard Kurtz later acknowledged that Howell's assertion was "inartfully worded" and could "have been more accurate." The Center for Responsive Politics' database of campaign contributions does not list any donations from Abramoff to any Democrats.

Posted In
Government, Ethics
Network/Outlet
The Washington Post
Person
Susan Schmidt
Stories/Interests
Abramoff Scandal
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