Did Reid’s Kochsteria page violate Senate ethics policy?
posted at 2:01 pm on April 3, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
Perhaps the better question is this: would the Senate Majority Leader care about ethics and rules in the first place? After all, the subject in question had no compunction calling Mitt Romney a tax cheat in the 2012 election based on his stated claim of inside information, and has given a crash course on neo-McCarthyism on the Senate dais itself in regard to Charles and David Koch. Anyone who thinks Harry Reid will repent of breaking a few Senate ethics eggs to make his Kochsteria omelet clearly doesn’t know Harry Reid very well:
The Senate maintains strict rules on what kind of content can be posted on Senate.gov sites–rules that the anti-Koch hit piece at least appears to violate:
The use of Senate Internet Services for personal, promotional, commercial, or partisan political/campaign purposes is prohibited.
It is the responsibility of each Senator, Committee Chairman (on behalf of the committee), Officer of the Senate, or office head to oversee the use of the Internet Services by his or her office and to ensure that the use of the services is consistent with the requirements established by this policy and applicable laws and regulations.
Senators are allowed to directly post content to their pages, while other staffers must first obtain permission from the Committee on Rules and Administration.
The Daily Caller reached out to the committee to determine whether anyone in Reid’s office had cleared the anti-Koch post, and whether the post did indeed violate the rules.
The issue here is the definition of “partisan political/campaign purposes.” Obviously, Reid is doing what Allahpundit called “stroking their [the progressive base] political erogenous zones often and early.” Reid needs to build massive progressive credibility now before his re-election campaign in 2016, when he’ll have to revert back to Gun Loving Fiscal Conservative Moderate Harry Reid. However, that description is probably elastic enough to provide Reid cover, at least for a little while.
Besides, when has the Senate Ethics Committee last acted against one of the club, and especially its Chief Grand Poobah? Reid has made a joke out of the upper chamber’s sense of ethics and is busy destroying its reputation as the greatest debating society with his cheap character assassinations and pandering to the paranoid from the dais. If the Ethics Committee had any intention to rein in Reid, they wouldn’t have waited for a silly web page that had to be edited immediately on publication for its false accusations — again about allegations of tax cheating.
Charles Koch responded to Reid’s character assassination in the Wall Street Journal last night:
Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society—and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.
Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re “un-American” and trying to “rig the system,” that we’re against “environmental protection” or eager to “end workplace safety standards.” These falsehoods remind me of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” …
Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people’s lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.
If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off—not just today, but for generations to come. I’m dedicated to fighting for that vision. I’m convinced most Americans believe it’s worth fighting for, too.
The contrast between Reid’s shrieking and Koch’s measured response couldn’t be more striking. It should shame voters in Nevada who sent Reid to Washington in the first place, and the Senate Ethics Committee for not doing its job.