Elections

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  • Dick Morris' remarkable feat of self-promotion

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    After watching Dick Morris' most recent interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity, you might wonder why there wasn't a flashing 1-800 number and a reminder that operators were "standing by," because the infamously ethically challenged Fox News political analyst had a lot of causes to crassly promote in a small window of time. All of them had one thing in common: Dick Morris.

    In case your head is spinning from all the pitches, here is a recap of Morris' product lineup:

    • His website, DickMorris.com. Morris apparently profits from his website by selling web ads on it via Google Adsense, while also soliciting subscribers for e-mail lists that he has used in conjunction with various conservative/Republican groups and candidates to raise campaign funds.
    • A new project called "Project 100" in co-operation with Michael Reagan's ReaganPAC. Morris describes the venture as an effort "to raise our sights and do independent expenditures in an additional twenty or so districts to give the Republicans in these newly marginal seats a big boost. We hope to raise $2 million so as to be able to put $100,000, on average, into each of these districts."
    • AmericansForNewLeadership.com, who has been running ads attacking Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada. Previously we noted that Morris has solicited funds for Americans For New Leadership via his website and has advised them on their advertising strategy all while soliciting funds for them on Hannity without disclosure.
    • His direct-to-video movie Battle For America featuring Newt Gingrich and Ann Coulter. The movie's website describes it as a "call to action by Dick Morris to take back our country" and "a searing look at the ongoing conflict between 'Constitutional Conservatives' and an out-of-touch, arrogant, and ever-expanding central government." The film was apparently created in cooperation with David Bossie's Citizens United.

    How much would you expect to pay for all these fabulous items? Well, considering the pitchman and his ethical track record, you should probably think twice.

  • FoxPAC's "Power Player of the Week" is on the payroll

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    This morning on FoxPAC Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace identified as his power player of the week a key player in electing Republican governors, explaining:

    While most of the attention is focused on which party will control Congress, there are 37 other races that could be even more important, and at the center of that action is our Power Player of the Week.

    Wallace was not referring to News Corp., the parent company of Fox News that donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association earlier this year. Rather, his "Power Player of the Week" was Nick Ayers, the executive director of the organization that benefitted from News Corp.'s largesse:

    For all the talk about the GOP taking back Congress, he has built the RGA into the biggest political committee in town.

    Wallace said that governors would play key roles in redrawing congressional districts after the 2010 Census figures are released, and in the 2012 presidential election. He highlighted Ayers' claim that Obama's reelection campaign would be made more difficult if Republicans hold the keys 30 or more governors' mansions. Wallace then said:

    At the end of June, the RGA had more than $40 million cash on hand.

    According to Bloomberg, News Corp. is the largest corporate donor to the Republican Governors Association.

  • NYT editorial: "House Republicans' 'Pledge to America' goes far beyond the norm" of "[e]xtravagant promises and bluster"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In a September 25 editorial, the New York Times criticized the GOP's "Pledge to America," noting that "Extravagant promises and bluster are the stuff of campaign rhetoric, but the House Republicans' 'Pledge to America' goes far beyond the norm," and that "Its breathless mimicry of the Declaration of Independence ... would be ludicrous, if these were not destructively polarized times."

    The editorial described the "pledge" as "a bid to co-opt the Tea Party by a Republican leadership that wants to sound insurrectionist but is the same old Washington elite."

    The Times also pointed out that the GOP plan did not address entitlement programs or replacing "revenue that would be lost from permanently extending all of the Bush tax cuts," noting that "[t]heir record at all of these things is dismal." The editorial concluded:

    Americans are right to be worried and even angry about the bad economy. And they are right to demand that Washington do a lot more to revive employment now and start to reduce the deficit soon. But these are hard problems built up over eight years of mainly Republican leadership. The pledge takes the country backward -- a place no one should want to go.

  • Latest ridiculous Coons smear ties him to "black liberation theology" through group led by Desmond Tutu

    Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

    It's more than a month until Election Day, but it seems conservatives are already scraping the bottom of the barrel for baseless attacks on Democratic Delaware Senate candidate Chris Coons.

    First up is Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator. Lord -- who we last saw trying to parse whether Shirley Sherrod was "lying" about a relative being lynched because only two people were involved in the act, a position so ridiculous that even his fellow Spectator writers wouldn't back him up -- attacked Coons' work as a college student with the South African Council of Churches. Why? Because Coons was "emerging as a leftist," and thus "decided he had some sort of obvious attraction to the work of SACC," which "support[ed] Black Liberation Theology." Things get tangential from here, as Lord plays Six Degrees of Black Liberation Theology (with a brief stop at Rev. Jeremiah Wright) to depict the SACC has having "pro-Marxist, pro-socialist, anti-capitalist views." Lord proclaimed, "Now, the liberation theology chickens that Chris Coons was supporting in Africa have come home to roost in America."

    Lord overlooks a few things. Like: What is the one thing people think of when they think of South Africa in the 1980s? Apartheid. And what was one of the leading groups fighting apartheid in that country? The South African Council of Churches. Bishop Desmond Tutu, a prominent anti-apartheid leader and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a former secretary-general of SACC, and Nelson Mandela praised the group as being among those who "resisted racial bigotry and held out a vision of a different, transformed South Africa."

    Isn't it more logical that Coons was attracted to working for the SACC over its anti-apartheid stance? Yep. Does Lord make that connection? Nope -- he's too invested in his convoluted conspiracy theory.

  • A "true member of the team": Coates defends Schlozman's hiring moves

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Christopher Coates testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that he believed he was the individual Bradley Schlozman identified as a "true member of the team" during the highly politicized Bush Justice Department.

    In January, The American Prospect's Adam Serwer reported:

    At first glance, Coates' extensive experience with voting rights -- he first worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and later the Justice Department -- made him look like just another career attorney. But Coates' current and former colleagues at the Justice Department say Coates underwent an ideological conversion shortly after a black lawyer in the Voting Rights Section, Gilda Daniels, was promoted to deputy section chief over him in July of 2000. Outraged, Coates filed a complaint alleging he was passed up for the job because he is white. The matter was settled internally.

    "He thought he should have been hired instead of her," said one former official in the Voting Section. "That had an impact on his views ... he became more conservative over time."

    Coates' star rose during the Bush administration, during which he was promoted to principal deputy section chief. While not mentioned by name, Coates has been identified by several current and former Justice Department officials as the anonymous Voting Section lawyer, referred to in the joint Inspector General/Office of Professional Responsibility report, that Schlozman recommended for an immigration judge position. Immigration judges have jurisdiction over whether or not foreign nationals are deported. In his letter to Monica Goodling, a former senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who was implicated in the scandal involving politicized hiring, Schlozman wrote of Coates:

    Don't be dissuaded by his ACLU work on voting matters from years ago. This is a very different man, and particularly on immigration issues, he is a true member of the team. [The American Prospect, 1/8/10]

    The Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility and Inspector General's office concluded in a 2008 report that Schlozman violated federal law and DOJ policy by using political ideology to guide personnel decisions, pointing out that he discussed removing "disloyal" "liberals" while hiring conservative "real Americans."

    Today, Coates defended those hiring practices, saying:

    Mr. Schlozman found a Civil Rights Division that was almost totally left-liberal in the basis of the ideology of the people who were working in it, and that he made some concerted effort to diversify the division so that conservatives as well as liberals could find work there.

  • Christopher Coates and "the height of hypocrisy"

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Justice Department attorney Christopher Coates testified today that the Bush-era DOJ ignored his recommendation to investigate allegations that armed agents in Mississippi intimidated black voters.

    Coates, who wanted the DOJ under Obama to pursue additional voter-intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party, testified today before the conservative-dominated U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Republican vice chairwoman of the commission has criticized the inquiry as part of a "wild notion" conservatives on the commission have to "topple" the Obama administration.

    During the hearing, Coates testified that in 2005, Bradley Schlozman overrode his recommendation to continue investigating claims that officials in the Mississippi Attorney General's office intimidated black voters:

    COMMISSIONER MICHAEL YAKI: You were also there in 2005. There were allegations that investigators for the State of Mississippi who were armed went into the homes of elderly, minority voters, in municipal elections asking them who they voted for. Generally for them, they felt very intimidated. I believe that a complaint was relayed to the Civil Rights Division. Can you tell me what the disposition of that complaint was?

    COATES: Yes. And since Mr. Perez talked about that in his testimony, I'm going to talk about that, too. I was in charge of that investigation as the principal deputy. And we interviewed African-American voters in Panola - the name or that jurisdiction is Panola County Mississippi. We interviewed telephonically witnesses who had some investigators from the Attorney General's office come in. They were doing a voter fraud investigation. They asked these people they interviewed for whom they voted.

    There is a Mississippi law that prohibits that except in very special circumstances. Judge Lee, for example, in the Ike Brown case would not let lawyers on either side ask for whom people voted. We did that investigation, and I recommended that we do a complete investigation in Panola County, because I felt that those questions were inappropriate and improper, and it was not a way to conduct, properly conduct a voting fraud investigation. My recommendation in that regard was not followed, and the matter was not followed up.

    YAKI: Who did you send the recommendation to?

    COATES: Mr. Schlozman.

    The Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility and Inspector General's office concluded in its 2008 report that Schlozman improperly politicized ideology in making personnel decisions and discussed removing "disloyal" "liberals" while hiring conservative "real Americans."