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Wednesday, February 4, 2009
False Equivalence at NewsBusters
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Feb. 3 NewsBustsers post, Kyle Drennen suggested hypocrisy on the part of Citizens for Reponsiblity and Ethics in Washington (whose name Drennen gets wrong, calling it "Citizens for Responsibilities and Ethics") spokesman Melanie Sloan. Sloan had said regarding Tom Daschle that he engages in "the more sophisicated kind of lobbying we have in Washington, where he's a consultant. ... Maybe the truth of the matter is, you need some of those Washington insiders to make your new government work." Drennen then pointed out that in 2005, Sloan was quoted as saying that the indictment of Tom DeLay "demonstrates the culture of corruption among the congressional leadership that has become a cancer on our country."

Drennen conveniently ignores two major differences between DeLay and Daschle. First, Daschle was not a sitting senator, having lost re-election in 2004; DeLay was a sitting congressman. Second, Daschle was not accused of any crime regarding his lobbying activities -- though Drennan suggests that both DeLay and Daschle were engaged in "ethics scandals" of similar magnitude -- while DeLay faces criminal charges over his alleged behavior. As the 2005 column Drennen cited described the charges against DeLay:

DeLay's indictment comes on the heels of charges that top political aide Jim Ellis and veteran fundraiser John Colyandro illegally funneled $190,000 in corporate contributions to candidates for the Texas legislature in 2002 through the national Republican Party. "The indictment charges DeLay with conspiring with Ellis and Colyandro to violate the Texas Election Code by contributing corporate money to certain candidates for the Texas Legislature," said the statement from DA Ronnie Earle. "It describes a scheme whereby corporate, or 'soft,' money was sent to the Republican National Committee where it was exchanged for 'hard' money, or money raised from individuals, and sent to those candidates." The probe initially focused on violations of Texas election law but was recently broadened to include conspiracy charges. DeLay's modus operandi — the ruthless accumulation of money and favors to benefit corporate interests and far-right Republicans — may ultimately secure his demise.

Questions about unpaid taxes, which Daschle faced, are several orders of magnitude lower than a criminal indictment regarding illegal money-laundering. Drennen appears not to know the difference.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:24 AM EST

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