On Fox News Sunday, NPR's Mara Liasson again falsely claimed that Democrats received money from disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. As the weblog Think Progress first noted, she claimed on the May 7 show that "it's Democrats, not just Republicans, taking money from Abramoff." In fact, Democrats received contributions from Abramoff's clients and associates, but none from Abramoff directly.
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On the May 7 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson again falsely claimed that Democrats received money from Jack Abramoff, the former Republican lobbyist who pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion in January. Asked by host Chris Wallace whether Democrats alleging a Republican "culture of corruption" in Congress had "their own glass house," Liasson responded that voters believe the corruption in Congress is bipartisan. As the weblog Think Progress first noted, she claimed that "it's Democrats, not just Republicans, taking money from Abramoff." In fact, as Media Matters has documented repeatedly, Democrats received contributions from Abramoff's clients and associates, but none from Abramoff directly.
Additionally, in a May 4 posting on NPR's Mixed Signals weblog, Liasson touted a misleading report by Capitol Hill correspondent Andrea Seabrook, who suggested that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) face "ethics allegations" because they received campaign contributions from Abramoff's clients. As Media Matters noted, neither Reid nor Stabenow is facing allegations of ethical misconduct over Abramoff client contributions.
Promoting Seabrook's report, Liasson stated that the purported ethical "troubles" of some Democrats "add to the general perception of voters who tell pollsters that they do not consider corruption in Washington to be a Republican problem." She added that "the attitude of voters is 'everybody does it.' "
From the May 7 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: Mara, Democrats, as Brit [Hume, Fox News anchor and Washington bureau managing editor] points out, have been making a big deal so far this year about Republicans and the "culture of corruption." Do Democrats now have their own glass house?
LIASSON: Yes. Well, look. I think that voters think there is a culture of corruption. They just don't think it's a Republican culture of corruption yet. And I think that every time you hear another one of these kind of bipartisan scandal stories, where it's Democrats, not just Republicans, taking money from Abramoff, it underlines a feeling that people tell pollsters over and over again, which is that everybody does it, that there's not really much difference.
Now, of course, in terms of the lobbying scandals and the money-related scandals, there are more Republicans involved. They're the majority party. But I think that the way this is playing out politically is that if you are an individual congressman involved in something like this, you're going to have some trouble in November unless you're in a super safe seat.
It might add to a general feeling of anger at incumbents, just the fact that there's more stuff that people don't like in Washington, and that adds to the anti-incumbent view. But I think to make a big partisan indictment, which is what the Democrats are trying to do, to say this is a Republican culture of corruption, I think makes it a lot harder.