view from mars

"Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

CQ whores it up for Goode

CQ adds its two cents in an article called "VA 5: Ethics Questions Unlikely to Make Goode Look Bad":

Virginia political veteran Virgil H. Goode Jr. spent 24 years in the state Senate before the 1996 victory that put him in the 5th District House seat he has held ever since. He has won as a conservative Democrat, as an independent, and since his 2002 race as a Republican. And he avoided any serious tinge of ethical controversy along the way.

But last week, Goode found himself mentioned — albeit obliquely — in one of the biggest scandals to hit Congress in years. When Mitchell Wade, former president of the defense contractor MZM Inc., pleaded guilty to bribing California Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, he also admitted to funneling large illegal campaign contributions to Goode and another House Republican, Florida’s Katherine Harris.

Wade skirted campaign finance limits by instructing MZM employees and their spouses to donate funds to Goode and Harris, and then reimbursing them in violation of federal law. The amounts were not paltry: The $93,000 in campaign donations Goode received from MZM associates since 2003, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, made the firm his single biggest contributor.

The eyebrow-raising aspect of the revelations was the fact that Goode, as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, secured an earmark of $3.6 million for an MZM-run project in Martinsville, a small city located in Virginia’s 5th District. The project eventually brought dozens of jobs to the economically hurting region and was praised by Mark Warner, then the Democratic governor of Virginia.

Goode strongly denies any connection between his legislative actions and the campaign contributions he received, and declares himself “shocked and amazed” that the MZM-related donations were illegal. Goode said all amounts his campaign could identify as contributions from MZM’s political action committee and employees were sent to charities and non-profit groups.

How nice. Here's what CQ in all its Brilliant and Astute Political Reasoning relied upon in order to make the claim in the title:

But Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and a well-known political commentator, called Goode’s misfortune only a minor setback.

“This may cut a few points, but he is strong in the southern part of the district,” Sabato said. “People know him well, whether they agree or disagree with him. They know he is not corrupt.”

And in no other place in the article mention another objective viewpoint. Oh, wait:
Democratic activists relish the development, though, seeking to link Goode to a series of ethics controversies that have cast a cloud over several congressional incumbents, most of them Republicans. Lindsey Reynolds, executive director of the Virginia Democratic Party, contended, “When you have culture of corruption of the Republican Party and it hits home, you are always optimistic.”
Lovely. Those damn democrats -- giving a shit about, you know, corruption, bribery, and ethically questionable behavior when handling taxpayer money and having the power to insert any earmark into a bill that is almost certainly guaranteed to pass the House vote. Oh and that bit about the influence to make that earmark coming from ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS.

So remember how similar the Wade/Goode relationship was with the Wade/Harris relationship? Here's what CQ has to say about Harris:

According to Harris’ statement, the congresswoman’s association with MZM was aimed solely at boosting the economy of southwest Florida’s 13th District, which she has represented for two terms. “Mr. Wade discussed opening a defense plant in Sarasota that would create numerous high-skilled, high-wage jobs in my district,” Harris said.

But that claim spurred one Florida columnist to accuse Harris of lying. Tom Lyons of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune wrote Wednesday, “Harris repeatedly misled journalists and the public about her conversations with defense contractor Mitchell Wade.” He added,“It seems she is so happy to get campaign money that all red flags remain invisible to her.”

Of course this comment is in no way relevant to Mr. Goode's ambivalence to the ethical nature of his respective set of what-would-later-be-discovered-were illegal campaign contributions.

Now, I understand that Harris is running a Senate bid which already seems to be crashing headfirst into the ground. I just wonder why the Goode article seems so, well, shittacularly researched. Why rely on Larry Sabato as their "well-known political commentator" for evidence that would justify the storyline established not only by the title of the piece, but the entire opening passage (and that last bit that basically smears Al Weed and mocks the amount of money he was able to raise, even though that money didn't come from a future felon who illegally contributed about half of Goode's election chest but hey who's counting?)

Let me remind all of you what Mr. Sabato has said in the past -- from Media Matters:

Referring to widely discredited attacks on Senator John Kerry's military service by the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, falsely claimed that "major pieces of this story ... are true." Sabato's remarks came during a discussion on the August 30 edition of FOX News Channel's Special Report with Brit Hume.

Hume asked Sabato about what sort of media coverage a news story had to attract before it could significantly affect a campaign:

HUME: Does it not -- a story have to eventually break into some of the main news organizations for it to really have an impact?

SABATO: Absolutely, it has to, but it also has to be true. And there are at least major pieces of this story -- like Cambodia, like the first Purple Heart, and like the 1971 testimony to the U.S. Senate by Kerry -- that are true.

In fact, all three of the charges by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that Sabato referenced have been discredited.

So he has no stake in this whole thing, right?


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