The Left must be afraid of Fred Thompson. The latest attack on the former Tennessee senator: he's violating the "spirit" of campaign finance laws by toying with his candidacy for too long, even as he builds the framework to hit the campaign trail running. Yet unfortunately for her readers, ABCNews.com's Jennifer Rubin leaves out the liberal leanings of the two major critics of the former senator that she cites in her recent story. Indeed, one group's president even has a link to First Amendment breacher, er, campaign finance reformer John McCain, a GOP candidate, while the other group's executive director previously worked for Democratic 2008 candidate Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) as well as liberal pols such as Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Here are the offending passages, followed by my commentary (portions in bold are my emphasis):
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington [CREW] — a nonprofit organization which promotes ethics and accountability in government — disagreed. "You don't need to hire a policy director and other operational staff just to test the waters. In addition, he appears to have raised far more money than necessary to prove he has national support," she said.
"At this point he's abusing the testing the waters exception to avoid having to disclose his contributors."
Paul Ryan, FEC program director and associate legal counsel of the Campaign Legal Center — a nonprofit organization that works in the areas of campaign finance and government ethics — noted that Thompson has 15 days to file declaration of his candidacy from the time he decides to become candidate. But if he does not, according to Ryan, "to the extent he has decided he is a candidate but has not registered as a federal campaign committee or disclosed his funds, at the very least, he has violated the spirit, if not the actual letter, of the law."
As the Reagan era saying goes, "personnel is policy." It's something Rubin would do well to learn when reporting on groups like CREW and the Campaign Legal Center. A cursory review of the Web sites for both groups reveals their liberal skew in both personnel and policy.
Trevor Potter, the president and general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, for example, "served as Counsel to Congressional sponsors of the BCRA [the McCain-Feingold law] in the McConnell v. FEC litigation."
Hmm, wasn't one of those congressional sponsors one Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who would be a rival for the nomination for President should Thompson jump in the race? Yet that fact was curiously left out of Rubin's story.
And while Rubin may consider CREW an apolitical advocate of "ethics and accountability," it definitely skews to the left in its staff roster and its target list (see their lawsuits and calls for investigation pages).
As for Sloan, here's her official CREW bio (emphasis mine):
Melanie Sloan serves as CREW's Executive Director. Prior to starting CREW, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia where, from 1998-2003, she successfully tried cases before dozens of judges and juries. Before becoming a prosecutor, Ms. Sloan served as Minority Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, working for Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) and specializing in criminal justice issues.
In 1994, Ms. Sloan served as Counsel for the Crime Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by then-Representative Charles Schumer (D-NY). There, she drafted portions of the 1994 Crime Bill, including the Violence Against Women Act. In 1993, Ms. Sloan served as Nominations Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, under then-Chairman, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE). Prior to serving in Congress, she was an associate at Howrey and Simon in Washington, D.C. and at Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal in Los Angeles, California. Ms. Sloan received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Chicago and has published in the Yale Law and Policy Review, Legal Times, The Washington Post, and the San Diego Union-Tribune.