NYT Finally Checks Out the Democrat-Abramoff Connection

December 14th, 2005 11:41 AM

The New York Times finally checks out the Democrat-Jack Abramoff connection -- briefly, anyway.

Philip Shenon's "Democrat Returning Donations From Abramoff's Tribal Clients" reports that Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, ranking Democrat on the Senate committee investigating controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is "returning $67,000 in political contributions from Mr. Abramoff's former partners and Indian tribe clients."

But although there is an obviously juicy hypocrisy angle to this story (Dorgan has been an outspoken critic of Abramoff), Shenon's story is relegated to a short piece at the bottom of page 24 in Wednesday's edition.

He notes:

"The ranking Democrat on the Senate committee investigating the Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff announced on Tuesday that he was returning $67,000 in political contributions from Mr. Abramoff's former partners and Indian tribe clients. The lawmaker, Senator Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, has been accused of hypocrisy by Republicans for having not acknowledged the contributions from Mr. Abramoff's clients while at the same time sharply criticizing him in hearings of the Senate panel, the Indian Affairs Committee."

As Times Watch has previously exposed, the Times has generally ignored Democratic-Abramoff connections.

Even now, the Times is merely playing catch up to the Associated Press:

"The senator has been the focus of recent articles by The Associated Press into the timing of a series of contributions from Indian tribes and actions he took that were seen as favorable to them. His decision to return the money was first disclosed in an interview with The Forum, a newspaper in Fargo, N.D., that published an account of it Tuesday. In his statement, Mr. Dorgan described Mr. Abramoff as a 'corrupt individual who bilked Indian tribes out of tens of millions of dollars.' He said, 'I have never met Jack Abramoff, I have never received a political contribution from him, and I have never knowingly received one that was directed by him.' A spokesman for Mr. Abramoff had no immediate response."

The Washington Post gave the story Page 5 play nine days ago with a strong headline, "Dorgan Tangled in Abramoff Web."

For more examples of New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.org.