The title to this article is exactly how I'd write it if I were a political hack trying to drum up a faux controversy for use by other political hacks in the mainstream media. Which is exactly what Sam Stein of the Huffington Post did on February 12th as he broke out the yellowkid journalistic mold for a fantasy leftist hack attack on John McCain headlined in giant font, McCain Received $100,000 From Firm Of Abramoff Notoriety.
Before I comment further on the idiocy of Stein's assertions it is only fair that I mention that there is nothing in his article that isn't true just as there isn't anything untrue in mine here. Barack Obama did in fact receive over $80,000 from the same firm that Stein tries to hang John McCain with. In addition both John McCain and Barack Obama were eclipsed by the $162,450 amount received by Hillary Clinton from employees of the same jaded firm.
All figures are compiled by OpenSecrets.org by doing a donor lookup with "Greenberg Traurig" as the donor occupation and each respective candidate in question as the recipient. You must search for recipients using "lastname, firstname" to get the full results.
With the above information in mind I'd like to invite you to take a look into the play book of journalistic hackery and dissect how activists twist and spin the facts to convey their own illegitimate fantasies of republican corruption.
On the stump, Sen. John McCain has touted his work tackling the excesses of the lobbying industry to bolster his reputation as a "maverick" reformer.
"Ask Jack Abramoff if I'm an insider in Washington," McCain often contends. "You'd probably have to go during visiting hours in the prison, and he'll tell you and his lobbyist cronies of the change I made there."
But how much change did McCain actually effect? And is he all that removed from Washington's special interests?
A review of campaign finance filings shows that the Arizona Republican has accepted more than $100,000 in donations from employees of Greenberg Traurig, the very firm where Abramoff once reigned.
Those donations include several thousand dollars from registered lobbyists who represent, or have represented, businesses such as NewsCorp, Rupert Murdoch's media empire; Spi Spirits, a Cyprus based company that has fought with the Russian government for the rights to the Stolichnaya vodka brand name; El Paso Corp, a major energy company; General Motors; and the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, a group of businesses and trade associations "concerned" about the shortage of lesser skilled and unskilled labor.
All told, McCain has received more than $400,000 from lobbying firms, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And among his major fundraisers ("bundlers") 59 have been identified as lobbyists by the non-profit organization Public Citizen.
There is nothing illegal about these contributions. But campaign watchdog groups and McCain's opponents view them as more than just a reflection of political irony. McCain, they argue, has on occasion been far more bark than bite when it comes to taking on lobbying interests.
Indeed, this past week, the Democratic National Committee put together a memo challenging McCain's assertion that he was a corruption hound while investigating Abramoff. The document and some government watchdog groups note that while McCain put pressure on Jack Abramoff and several prominent Republicans, he also went out of his way during the Indian Affairs Committee hearing to spare his congressional colleagues.
This is what passes as investigative journalism nowadays. You'd have to be stupid to pass this off as a story. What's worse, that Sam Stein is waiting for e-mails from the DNC to write such a moronic story or that neither of them can separate fact from fantasy when ignoring the fact that other groups Stein might not be critical of received money from employees of the same firm such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte, 21st Century Democrats, DNC Services Corp, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Cmte, Moving America Forward, Moveon.org, Democratic State Central Cmte/Maryland, New Hampshire Democratic State Cmte, New Millennium PAC, To Organize a Majority PAC, New Hampshire Democratic State Cmte and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte?
If you are going to sling mud you might as well do some credible research. Keep that in mind as you read Stein's latest salvo, an equally thin piece that is being parroted by the likes of Keith Olbermann alongside Air America's Rachael Maddow that implies that McCain protected some in the GOP from the Abramoff scandal. Coincidence? Hardly. Hack job? You bet.
Terry Trippany is the editor and publisher at Webloggin.