So… Dave Reichert, struggling to keep pace with Darcy Burner’s overwhelming support from individual contributors, turns to a group of high-powered lobbyists for a quick infusion of cash—including lobbyists representing Airbus parent EADS against Boeing in the controversial tanker deal—and what’s the headline in the Seattle Times? “Words fly over lobbyist for Boeing rival at Reichert fundraiser.”
That’s right, EADS lobbyist Mike Chappell writes Reichert a $500 check and the main story here is the accusation itself, with the Times emphasizing that “Burner spokesman Sandeep Kaushik leaked the EADS lobbyist tie to the online political newspaper Politico.”
9. to disclose secret, esp. official, information anonymously, as to the news media
A) Kaushik is Burner’s communication director; it’s his job to pass information on to the press, even damaging information about her opponent; and B) How exactly do you “leak” information that had already appeared in an article in Roll Call?
All Kaushik did was call Politico’s attention to the fact that an article in Roll Call contradicted editorializing that had appeared in their own publication, causing Politico to write a follow-up story when they determined that the info in Roll Call checked out. And that added tidbit about Chappell writing Reichert a check? That came from good, old fashioned “sleuthing” on the part of the Times reporter Emily Heffter. That’s some “leak.”
Reichert goes begging to lobbyists paid to oppose the interests of his district, and it’s “words flying” that makes the headline, and the Burner campaign’s role in publicizing Reichert’s Airbus connections that makes the lede. And Reichert gets a check from Airbus, but that’s okay, because he says he plans to return it, you know… after he was caught. Jesus… could the Times pedal any softer?
But then, Reichert is the Times’ favorite “conscience driven independent,” so I guess we’re unlikely to see a piece criticizing Reichert for publicly posturing in defense of Boeing against the Alabama/French Connection, and then going back to the other Washington to quietly solicit support from the very people he’s supposedly opposing… folks like EADS lobbyist Chappell, Alabama Aircraft Industries lobbyist Chris Cox, former Tom DeLay henchman (and co-conspirator) Drew Maloney, and the rest of the K Street crowd.
The Times knows damn well how damaging this story really is—hell, it’s exactly crap like this that has destroyed the Republican brand. The “K Street Project,” the “Culture of Corruption,” the cozy relationship between the Republican leadership and their corporate patrons… this is why Democrats took control of both houses in 2006, and this is why they are poised to expand their majority in 2008. And whatever his intentions when he first headed off to Congress, Dave Reichert now finds himself smack dab in the middle of everything that is wrong with the Beltway establishment, totally reliant on (and indebted to) lobbyists and PACs in his desperate efforts to fend off Burner’s challenge.
Darcy Burner on the other hand, with her people-powered politics and her thousands upon thousands of small contributions from individual donors, is indebted to nothing but her own conscience. So if 8th CD voters really want to send somebody to Congress who can truly challenge the corrupting influence of the K Street crowd in both parties, they need to elect a representative who doesn’t have to rely on these very same lobbyists to fund their campaigns. They need to elect Darcy Burner.