Former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rep. Chris Van Hollen is filing a federal lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, alleging that IRS guidelines for 501(c)(4) organizations distort federal law and thereby encourage 501(c)(4) "social welfare" groups to heavily engage in political speech, contrary to statutory requirements that a 501(c)(4) exist solely for "the promotion of social welfare."
Of course, numerous conservative 501(c)(4) groups have taken heavily to the TV airwaves in campaign cycles past to run issue advertising that has bedeviled liberal Democrats and favored conservative Republicans, but nowhere in his 11-paragraph August 21 story on Van Hollen's lawsuit did Washington Post staff writer Josh Hicks consider that the Maryland Democrat just might have a partisan motivation behind his actions. As Georgetown University Law adjunct professor Warren L. Dean Jr. noted in a piece in the Washington Times in June , there's evidence this hobby horse about 501(c)(4) political activity is indeed motivated by Van Hollen's penchant for using the heavy hand of government to attack conservatives (emphasis mine):
The Washington Post’s Josh Hicks can’t be living under a rock, so his piece of the IRS’ postponement of their August furlough day is probably just fluff to fill space on the website. His August 8 story had no mention of the fact that the agency is under a congressional microscope from its past activities of targeting both conservative and progressive groups. This, along with the analysis done by NewsBusters’ Geoff Dickens, is another example of the news media giving the agency political cover.
Frankly, any interesting piece of news coming from the IRS should be about the scandal, especially since Hicks quotes Colleen Kelley, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, who has a tenuous connection to the scandal itself. Last May, Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator wrote that Kelley could be the “smoking gun” in the IRS scandal. She met with the president on March 31, 2010, and the alleged targeting began the next day. As Lord noted:
Count this as another violation of federal law which the liberal media will ignore if not bury. A watchdog group is alleging that the Democratic National Committee "failed to properly disclose its reimbursements for a 2012 trip during which Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act," Josh Hicks of the Washington Post reported today.
You may recall that last September, the network news media failed to note the original Sebelius violation of the 1939 law which forbids federal employees from partisan electioneering. Had Sebelius been punished appropriately she would have either been forced to resign or had to have taken a 30-day suspension. Neither course of action was pursued by the Obama administration.
Because this year's presidential inauguration happens to fall on a federal holiday -- Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- Washington, D.C.-based federal employees this time around will not find the "extra paid holiday" that they enjoyed four years ago. Reporting this development, Washington Post writer Josh Hicks lamented in a January 7 The Fed Page article that [emphasis mine] "the historic event... will cost the region's government employees a quadrennial holiday, at least in terms of pay and leave."
That sound you're hearing now is the world's smallest violin. At no point in Hicks's 16-paragraph story did he see the occasion as a win, however slight, for American taxpayers: one day's pay for thousands of federal workers is a drop in the ocean of red ink in which the U.S. government swims, but hey, we'll take what we can get.
It’s become clear that media “fact checkers” have gone far beyond the facts and are often simply flagging ads for using dramatic words, like commercials often do. Writing for the Washington Post’s Fact Checker page, Josh Hicks tried to “correct” a pro-life ad:
“The antiabortion group Susan B. Anthony List released a video with testimony from failed-abortion survivor Melissa Ohden, who criticized the president’s Illinois Senate votes and said: 'I was aborted and my body discarded like I didn’t exist. But a nurse heard me crying and cared enough to save my life.'” Hicks flunked the ad because he didn’t like the word “discarded”: