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):
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Chip Reid forwarded the talking points of "some Democrats [who] say less vocal victims of the budget slashing have been left out in the cold ". Reid asserted that "millions of Americans harmed by the sequester [are] wondering what Washington plans to do for them" after Congress expedited the passage of a bill that ended the furloughs of air traffic controllers.
CBS News political director John Dickerson also spotlighted how "these across-the-board cuts have affected...all kinds of things – kids getting their Head Start, meals for poor people, even cancer treatments for Medicare patients – but they haven't been able to put the pressure on lawmakers that happened in this case."
My condolences, Ed. I know how much you wanted to believe this was true -- how much you needed to believe it's true.
Not only that, you claimed on your radio show that it was accurate, and more than once, only to learn -- from a political ally! -- that it wasn't. Such are the seldom-felt joys of slogging through left-wing media. (audio clips after page break)
On this morning’s edition of CNN’s Starting Point, host Soledad O’ Brien praised vice presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz for her “commanding” performance last night. A performance that demonstrated that she too is in the running for the Vice Presidency of the United States. It took O’Brien less than five minutes to compliment Raddatz’s “ perfect pitch,” despite Vice President Biden’s pervasive interrupting, which muddied the debate and prevented a clear and cogent dissemination of the Ryan’s views. Furthermore, CNN correspondent Dana Bash trivialized the vice president petulance by saying that is “who he is.”
On a special Saturday edition of Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews twice claimed that Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget "screws" needy people. During a segment with Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, as he asked what it was like to work with Rep. Ryan as his colleague, the MSNBC host asserted that the plan "really screws the people who desperately need Medicare and programs like that."
This week marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. But there's another "civil war" of sorts on the horizon, this one between the ultra-liberal wing of the Democratic Party, which has thus far steadfastly refused to accept cuts to entitlement programs in the name of fiscal solvency, and the party's more moderate members (which include, amazingly, President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi) who recognize that such cuts are all-but-inevitable.
But true to form, most of the media, fond of labeling GOP infighting a civil war, has yet to brand Democrats' budget feud with that label. This despite the increasing uneasiness of liberal legislators and organizations who are worried the president has already caved to conservatives on the budget battle.
Chris Matthews, on Monday's Hardball, brought on his own personal congressman, Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen, to review how his party was going to distinguish themselves from the GOP in the midterms with Matthews asking the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee head if they were focusing on all the "crazy" Republicans, or in other words "nut collecting." Matthews, after playing a clip of Barack Obama singling out Republicans Joe Barton, John Boehner and Roy Blunt, also reminded Van Hollen the President missed another "crazy" person with "B" name as he proclaimed: "If you're going out looking for nuts, it would seem like you'd put [Michele Bachmann] in your basket." Matthews even tried to pin down Van Hollen by demanding: "What percentage of the Republican Party would you put in the nut bag right now?"
The following exchange was aired on the July 12 edition of Hardball:
Eight former Federal Elections Commissioners today blasted proponents of a Senate bill that would "blunt" the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, which allowed unions and corporations to spend freely on political advertisements.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the Commissioners called the bill "unnecessary, partially duplicative of existing law, and severely burdensome to the right to engage in political speech and advocacy." They also accused Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. -- sponsors of the Senate and House legislation, respectively -- of "partisan motives" designed to satiate the Democratic Party's labor union backers.
While some prominent news organizations, including the Washington Post, have raised serious concerns about the legislation, other ostensibly (or at least presumably) pro-free speech news outlets are either silent or, in the case of the New York Times, simply parrot Democratic talking points and give critics of the bill a mention, though not a voice, and make sure to dub them "the business lobby."
The map appears on this page of the Democratic Leadership Committee [sic] website (dated 2004 during the Bush years). I guess we could argue over whether the DLC counts as “senior party officials” but they’re certainly as much a part of the party as Palin who, after all, currently holds no elected office.
Granted these are bulls-eyes instead of gun-sights, and the targets are states not individual congressmen. But we’re really splitting hairs at this point. This map and the language it uses (Behind enemy lines!) are, if anything, more militant than what Palin used in her Facebook posting.
Does Chris Matthews want Republican congressmen arrested? On Wednesday's Hardball he actually posed that possibility to Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen, as he blamed GOP rhetoric for causing vandalism of Democratic offices as he asked Van Hollen: "Would you say that this incitement, from the Republican leadership is criminal?" After relaying reports of Democrats receiving death threats and having "windows thrown bricks at," Matthews escalated his usual slandering of the entire Tea Party movement for the offensive or unlawful actions of a few, to actually blaming Republican officeholders for the illegal acts. The concerned MSNBC host also worried: "Is it harder to recruit members to run for Congress now that they're facing death threats?" [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the March 24 Hardball:
Good Morning America on Sunday derided the idea that Democratic retirements in Congress spell bad news for the party in 2010. John Hendren, a day before Evan Bayh announced he's leaving the Senate, dismissed, "But, for now, despite all the passionate, anti-incumbent tea parties, the math suggests limited changes on Capitol Hill. A tempest in a teapot." [Audio available here.]
Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland appeared and offered an optimistic spin. However, Hendren failed to mention that Van Hollen is also the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). So, when Van Hollen touted, "For new Presidents, the first midterm election can be very perilous for the President's party," wouldn't it be honest to inform viewers that it's the Congressman's job to offer happy talk?
Jeff Cohen, founder of FAIR—a self-described progressive media watch group—now a professor of independent media at Ithaca College, invited me to address his class of student bloggers this afternoon. Asked to name some of the fairer MSM journalists, I included David Gregory on my short list. That could understandably come as a surprise to those who remember Gregory from his days as NBC's chief White House correspondent, when he earned the ire of the Bush administration for his often-aggressive style. But I've found that Gregory plays it pretty much down the middle in his new role as host of Race for the White House on MSNBC.
By coincidence, on this evening's show Gregory vindicated my confidence with some tough questioning of an Obama surrogate on the issue of taxes and spending. Gregory went so far as to suggest that Obama's indication that he might not press for immediate implementation of tax increases on higher earners makes McCain's case. Gregory's guest was Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. When Van Hollen suggested Obama might postpone his tax-increase plan, Gregory moved in . . .