Russert falsely suggested Sen. Reid opposes the "Office of Public Integrity" and "lobbying reform"
Research ››› ››› SIMON MALOY
On the November 12 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, host and NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert suggested that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) opposes the creation of an independent Senate Office of Public Integrity and does not support "lobbying reform." During an interview with Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, who has promised to caucus with Democrats after running as an independent in the midterm elections, Russert quoted a November 10 Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) claiming Reid has been "touched" by "scandals." He then asked Lieberman: "Why not use, as a condition for your vote for majority leader for Mr. Reid, that he support the Office of Public Integrity and lobbying reform, now?" However, Russert's suggestion that Reid is opposed to the creation of the Office of Public Integrity and "lobbying reform" is false -- Reid introduced lobbying reform legislation in January calling for that office's creation.
From the November 12 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:
RUSSERT: But you are in a position now to exert a lot of influence. Here's The Wall Street Journal from Friday: "Scandals Have Touched Some Key Democrats. Senator Harry Reid, who is expected to be elected to majority leader in the Senate, has come under attack for his relationship with Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a profitable land deal, and whether he inappropriately used campaign funds to give Christmas bonuses to employees at his condo complex." Why not use, as a condition for your vote for majority leader for Mr. Reid, that he support the Office of Public Integrity and lobbying reform, now? Would you consider that?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I -- I've already given my commitment, and I said to my constituents during the campaign that I would organize with the Democrats for the reason I said. I want to continue the battle --bring the Democratic Party back to its historic role as a -- as a progressive party at home and a strong party abroad, and because I'm able to maintain my seniority, which will help me do more for my people in Connecticut.
Reid introduced the "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006" on January 20, which sought to "provide more rigorous requirements with respect to disclosure and enforcement of ethics and lobbying laws and regulations." The bill called for the creation of the Senate Office of Public Integrity and stipulated that all appointments to that office "be made without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of fitness to perform the duties of the position."