This has not been a good week for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), but you wouldn’t know it from the lack of media coverage. Earlier this week, an FEC complaint was filed against the Boehner connected super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund by Public Citizen and others for taking $2.5 million in illegal campaign contributions.
Then came from former Rep. Bob Ney’s (R-OH) new book. The congressman who did time in prison for his role in the Abramoff scandal, confirmed what has long been known about Boehner. The National Journal reported Ney’s very unflattering characterization of the Speaker, ‘Boehner “spent almost all of his time on fundraising, not policy.’ He ‘golfed, drank constantly, and took the easy way legislatively.’ Ney recalled Boehner handing out checks on the House floor and said his ties with a tobacco company were so tight that lawmakers could get free cigarettes from Boehner’s office. His golfing, Ney said, was ‘nonstop’ and ‘paid for by lobbyists.’ Ney wrote: ‘If the Justice Department were ever to make John produce receipts for his addiction to golf just for the years from 1995 to 2004, he would be hard-pressed to comply. John got away with more than any other Member on the Hill.’”
The complaint and the book paint a picture of a politician that deserves to be investigated by the media, but instead the our hapless corporate media has chosen to focus on the Republican Party’s claim that President Obama is selling access to the White House through the grassroots group Organizing For Action.
Here is Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell asking OFA’s Jim Messina questions that were completely based on Republican allegations:
After Messina assured Rose that there would be no White House access for donors to OFA, the interview reached the height of absurdity when O’Donnell asked, “Isn’t this exactly a double standard? I mean, you ran a whole campaign about Mitt Romney’s secrecy and access to special interests, and now you’ve got people who can contribute unlimited amounts of money, and the president’s going to go talk to them.”
The problem with this is that O’Donnell’s claims of secrecy and a double standard were undone by a graphic shown during the exact same interview.
This is the graphic that was on the screen in the early part of the Messina interview:
See the last line on that graphic? Donors of $250 K or more made public. That point destroys O’Donnell’s false equivalency between OFA and the Romney campaign’s refusal to disclose information about their candidate’s finances or his big money donors.
There is a real story here, but it is not the Republican talking point that the mainstream media is chasing.
Speaker Boehner has gotten away with a lot for a very long time. He is teetering on top of a house of cards. It is only a matter of time until a strong enough breeze comes along to knock it all down, but our corporate media is too busy trying to pump partisan allegations. They can’t be bothered to chase down real corruption.
What is most frustrating is that the media refuses to connect the dots and discuss the role of special interest money in politics. A grassroots organization like OFA would not have to be concerned with raising big money if the playing field wasn’t so heavily tilted towards wealthy individuals and corporate interests. On the Hill, John Boehner would be forced to do his job if special interest money was removed from our politics.
The media benefits from the corporate dollars that dominate our politics, so there is zero chance they’ll ever discuss a problem that they have helped cause. Instead they will continue to push Republican talking points as news, and ignore the real corruption that is happening daily right under their noses.