Did Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Tx)*, one of the prominent conservatives in the Republican-led Congress, misuse over $6,000 in campaign funds on a speaking trip to London? Maybe; it sounds like one of those typical gray election law controversies, and one of the lesser ones, except that Gohmert is on a lot of partisan hit lists. If he did misuse the funds, I’d want to see him fined, or whatever the violation warrants, and chastened too.
That’s not my concern right now, though. What interests me is that the alleged misuse of funds was flagged by Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and in reporting it, Mediaite said, in a story headlined, Ethics Watchdog Accuses Gohmert of Misusing Campaign Funds:
“An ethics watchdog group has filed a complaint against Rep. Louie Gohmert, accusing the Texas Republican of misusing campaign funds to foot the bill for a trip to England that included a 5-star hotel and a $200-plus taxi ride.The complaint, filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), was addressed to the staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics and demands an investigation into whether Gohmert violated House rules by using campaign money for a trip that seemingly had nothing to do with his campaign.”
CREW, as I have repeatedly pointed out for years, is no “ethics watchdog.” CREW has always been more inclined to find fault with Republicans, and now is a part of the Media Matters far left echo chamber. Like the organization it merged with last year after more than a decade of pretending to be non-partisan, its mission is to bolster progressives, their causes and the Democratic Party, and to attack and dig up dirt on Republicans. That doesn’t mean that the dirt it digs up on Republicans isn’t real dirt, or that such dirt shouldn’t be brought to light. It does mean that ethics is not CREW’s goal. Undermining Republicans is. Ethics is just its weapon of choice.The problem is that a clear partisan bias creates a conflict of interests that makes serving as an ethics watchdog ethically impossible.
Since Republicans and Democrats are approximately equal in their ethics violations, electoral or otherwise, a genuine ethics watchdog would find equal fault with members of both parties. CREW never has, and since making professional conservative-basher David Brock the Chairman of its Board of Directors, it can’t credibly pretend to be even-handed. After all, when Brock was asked if CREW would scrutinize misbehaving Democrats, his predictable, Brock-like answer was:,
“Our experience has been that the vast amount of violations of the public trust can be found on the conservative side of the aisle.”
Oh, CREW will use a periodic obviously and hopelessly corrupt Democrat to attack for the purpose of appearing bipartisan: even liberal groups can recognize that, say, Jesse Jackson, Jr. should be shunned. But it’s a partisan group, as its boss’s sentiment proves. I find it difficult to believe that CREW even bothers to deny that any more.
So why is Mediaite, which as news organizations go is pretty fair, allowing its readers to think the this is a genuine, unbiased, non-partisan ethics watchdog calling out Gohmert? (Even Politico called it a “a liberal watchdog group,” which means “we only mind unethical politicians who are conservative.”) Well, Mediaite is strange: it has its conservative-leaning reporters (which are as rare in the news media as snowy owls), and its liberal reporters. I would assume that Andrew Desiderio is one of the latter, but he may just be a lazy reporter. A reader should be informed whether an ethics attack on a Congressman is motivated by an independent group’s sincere desire for integrity in government, or by a Media Matters satellite engaged in fulfilling its assignment to pursue David Brock’s personal vendetta against the right.
Then the reader can make up his or her own mind how serious he should take the story.
*For some reason, I initially had a “D” here. I have no idea why.
17 thoughts on “Ah, Mediaite? CREW Is NOT An “Ethics Watchdog Group,” It’s A Partisan Media Matters Hit Group”
Shouldn’t it be (R-Tex.), not (D-Tx)?
Ugh. I have no idea why I did that. I’m going to blame the fact that that post I typed with both a laptop and a Jack Russell on my lap…Thanks.
Which Jack types up these articles?!
The one who can’t type and can barely spell…
I thought so. My congratulations to Mr. Russell for his intriguing articles over the years!
Louie Gohmert is one of the most upstanding and outstanding members of Congress. Personally, I’d wait for his response to these charges and judge him by my perception of his character rather than that of an organization whose perception is tainted by their own admission. But then again, I’d extend the benefit of doubt to anyone who has shown the least vestige of character.
Why do so many conservatives (or non-leftists) seem to have names that are too easy for the Left to poke fun at? (I guess “Obama” was leftists’ offering of bait to enable the illusion of allowing the score to be evened.)
As has been pointed out many, many times on this site both by yourself and others, most Americans have some shade of partisan goggles on that makes it harder to see ethical violations by those they are sympathetic to and easier to see them by those they are not. It doesn’t help that there are any number of partisan dyes (racism, sexism, patriotism) we can release to further cloud the waters we swim in with these goggles on. Eventually there’s so much dye in the water and the lenses become so tinted that everyone forgets what clear water actually looks like.
LOVE Steve-O’s comment! The true test of intellectual honesty is how your respond when your guy does precisely what the other guy does.
I think this is a lovely comment and useful analogy. Of course, I’m biased…
At the risk of sounding partisan, it seems like that side is particularly adept at giving their groups names that don’t quite match their true nature, sort of like the Ministries of Peace and Love.
Golly, who would ever call ME partisan?
Or “The Affordable Care Act?”
That being a prime recent example.
If we’re going into names of bills, then I’m afraid joed68 is wrong about the partisan nature of things. Consider the patriot act for instance…
The bipartisanship in deceitful names doesn’t make it ethical of course.
It is absolutely bipartisan.