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Aug 21 2013

Standard operating procedure

Cenk Uygur plays a recording of a voicemail message left by a member of Congress that shows how Congress gets contributions from lobbyists, by simply pointing out that they have influence on committees that serve the interests of the lobbyists. Members of Congress know that proposing new legislation is a surefire way to get contributions, which is why there are periodic proposals for tax reform that don’t actually result in any reforms. They are a way of churning the pot.

2 comments

  1. 1
    machintelligence

    Just curious, was the Breibart organization involved in this release in any way? Having been fooled a couple of times, one should be wary.

  2. 2
    henry_pet

    I am not excusing her action which sounds pretty indefensible. It reinforces the meme of systemic corruption between Congress and groups lobbying on behalf of businesses. I am surprised not by her request for money, but by her brazenness and the implicit assumption that leaving a message like this is part of every day business. It’s disgusting, and absolutely not a defense to say, “But everyone else does it.”

    I’d like to add some context and raise a few questions, and answer one or two.

    But first, a disclosure: I have no connection with her but I happen to like her politics. She has a fine pedigree of work for civil rights, reproductive rights, anti-apartheid and other progressive issues, and she has done her best to represent her disenfranchised constituents (citizens of DC) in Congress.

    Eleanor Holmes Norton represents Washington, DC and has for several years. She has no vote. Neither she nor any other Democrat is the chair of any committee in a Republican-led Congress, as Cent Uygur states (but see below). Her influence is approximately zero.

    Despite what she says in the voicemail, and what Uygur repeats, she is the ranking member (lead Democrat) of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, not the chair. Oops! See below!

    Why didn’t Uygur ask Norton to come on his show for an explanation? All reputable news shows will do this, even if the result is “So and so refused to appear or didn’t respond.” That’s Journalism 101, and failure to do this is yellow journalism. Sorry, Cent.

    I get it – no lobbyist is going to leak a recording like this in any case where it might come back and bite them – but where are other examples, or does Norton stand alone here? I wonder what the back story is – how did Uygur get the recording?
    Who was the lobbyist she left the message with?
    Was this the entire message or was it edited?
    What is the date of the recording?
    - Actually, Wikipedia says it’s from 2010 – wait a minute – Why is Uygur putting this on his August 2013 show without identifying this fact? The Dems did control the House in 2010, so Cent was inadvertently correct, after all, when he identifies her as chair of her subcommittee (not committee). Dude, that’s the second fail in the piece and it makes his refusal to ask her for a comment that much more egregious.

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