On the March 23 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox Legal Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano advanced the smear that President Obama bribed Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) to vote in favor of health care reform by appointing his brother to the appeals court and falsely claimed that after Obama's actions, Matheson “changed his vote to yes.” In fact, Rep. Matheson again voted “No” on health care reform and allegations of a deal between Matheson and the White House are completely baseless.
Napolitano falsely claims Matheson “changed his vote to yes” after his brother was appointed to the 10th circuit Court of Appeals
From the March 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
DOOCY: And you know, it is part of this storied history of Washington, D.C. There's a lot of this horse trading going on. As distasteful as Gator-Aid is or the Cornhusker Kickback, it's probably legal. But you say there are certain things involved behind the scenes that could be right up to the line. For instance, the judgeship that was offered and also dropping of criminal charges.
NAPOLITANO: Right. Congressman Alan Mollohan, a Democrat of West Virginia has been the subject of a federal investigation by the Justice Department for over a year now involving land deals. Congressman Mollohan voted “No” on health care first time around. The Justice Department dropped his investigation, he changed his vote to “Yes.”
DOOCY: Well, I'm sure that's a coincidence.
NAPOLITANO: Congressman Matheson, a Democrat of Utah, voted “No” first time around. The White House nominated Congressman Matheson's brother to the United States Court of Appeals for the tenth circuit. He changed his vote to “Yes.” Congressman Issa has told us about the offer of a job to Congressman Sestak, which Congressman Sestak, to his credit, candidly admitted. So, there's a point to beyond which you can't go. It is a crime to offer someone something of value in order to influence their vote or their official governmental behavior.
In fact, Rep. Matheson voted “No” on both the Senate's health care bill, and the Reconciliation package
Matheson voted against both the Senate bill and Reconciliation package. According to the U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Clerk, Matheson voted against both the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is health care reform legislation passed by the Senate, and the Reconciliation package, which made changes to the Senate bill. Matheson also voted “No” for the original House health care bill.
Allegations of a deal between the White House and Rep. Matheson are completely baseless
WH, Judge McConnell and Sen. Bennett debunk Matheson smear. Noting that McCormack's “report raises the question but doesn't answer it,” Politico's Chris Frates reported that Rep. Matheson's spokeswoman “called the question 'patently ridiculous,' saying there was no deal made between her boss and the president that guaranteed Scott Matheson's nomination in exchange for Rep. Matheson's vote.” Frates later noted that a “White House official calls the charge 'absurd.' 'Scott Matheson is a leading law scholar and has served as a law school dean and U.S. Attorney. He's respected across Utah and eminently qualified to serve on the federal bench,' the official said.” Likewise, a spokesman for Republican Sen. Robert Bennett (UT), and former Judge Michael McConnell -- an appointee of former President Bush -- who last occupied the seat to which Scott Matheson has been named, definitively debunked the smear.
Right-wing media figures repeatedly accused Obama of “selling judgeships for health care votes.” A March 3 Weekly Standard post by John McCormack was headlined “Obama Now Selling Judgeships for Health Care Votes? Obama names brother of undecided House Dem to Appeals Court.” Hot Air blogger Allahpundit headlined a post on the subject “Brother of Democrat who's undecided on ObamaCare nominated for federal judgeship.” The post further stated, “His exact words this afternoon: 'I will do everything in my power to make the case for reform.' And so he will, so he will." In a March 3 post headlined “If You Can't Beat 'Em, Bribe 'Em: Obama Now Trading Judgeships For Votes,” RedState's Lori Ziganto wrote, “Chicago-style politics once again coming home to roost.”