The White House eagerly tweeted the link to a New York Times hit piece on John Boehner that accused him of taking in loads of lobbyist cash. They called his connections to lobbyists “especially deep” — but not, apparently, if one compares them to current Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate. As Timothy Carney reports for the Washington Examiner, not only has Nancy Pelosi taken in twice as much lobbyist cash in this election as Boehner, but Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer have collected more in the last six months than Boehner has in six elections:
Here’s what they mean: from 1999 until today, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Boehner has raised $299,490 from lobbyists.
For comparison, Harry Reid, Blanche Lincoln, and Chuck Schumer have each raised more money from lobbyists in this cycle alone.
This isn’t the first time that the Gray Lady has worked as an arm of the Democratic Party. Don’t forget their attempt to smear John McCain with allegations of marital infidelity just as he wrapped up the Republican nomination for President. The newspaper’s public editor ended up scolding the Times and its editors for publishing a hack job based on unsupported allegations from disgruntled former staffers. It wasn’t their only effort at tilting the election, either:
- Gray Lady fighting dirty against McCain campaign? Update: NYT Ethics Policy
- The Times Strikes Back, Lamely
- Someone please call the Gray Lady a waaahmbulance! Update: It wasn’t “tightly controlled” in 1999
In this case, the use of the phrase “especially deep” shows that the Times wanted to make Boehner look as though he was on the extreme outlier of the common practice of fundraising among lobbysists. Whatever one thinks of that practice, it’s one of the truly bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill. But in this cycle, the top five recipients are all Democrats, including two in Senate leadership (Reid and Schumer), as well as six of the top ten (3 Republicans and Charlie Crist being the others), and eleven of the top 20 — and one of the Republicans on that list, Lisa Murkowski, is no longer a Republican candidate.
In the list of current House members, Roy Blunt tops it, probably because of his run for the Senate. Democrat Kendrick Meek follows him for the same reason, and Democrat Charlie Melancon comes in fourth as he runs for the Senate in Louisiana. Otherwise, this is a Democratic field, with Steny Hoyer and Charlie Rangel leading the list of those running for re-election in the House. Nancy Pelosi comes in at 9th overall. Where does Boehner rank? He’s not even in the top 20, whose last member — Sander Levin (D-MI) — has taken $59,211 from lobbyists in this cycle. There are only two Republicans on this list; the other 18 are Democrats.
So with that in mind, why did the New York Times decide to focus on John Boehner instead of all the bigger targets in the House and Senate? Quite obviously, they’re attempting to run interference for Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi by pushing a distorted, irresponsible, and highly inaccurate picture of Boehner as some sort of lobbyist lackey. It’s exactly the kind of political reporting that we’ve come to expect from the Times: unethical, biased, and sloppy. In their headline, they accuse Boehner of being “tightly bound” to lobbyists, but clearly it’s the New York Times that is “tightly bound” to this White House and the Democratic Party.