Judicial Watch Investigates The Great Tucson T-Shirt Non-Scandal

It's really maddening that we've reached the point where we can't even have a memorial service without it turning into a partisan witch-hunt.

Armed only with irrational suspicion and the false conjecture of Michelle Malkin, the right-wing group Judicial Watch has apparently launched an investigation into the White House's alleged involvement in “branding” the University of Arizona memorial for the victims of the January 8 mass shooting in Tuscon, at which t-shirts bearing the slogan “Together We Thrive” were distributed. Writing on BigGovernment.com, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton claims that “many questioned how it was set up and, specifically, whether the White House was involved in the t-shirt controversy.”

It's important to note at this point that this claim (which originated as unsupported speculation on Michelle Malkin's blog) has already been debunked by Politifact, which quoted U of A spokespeople saying that the White House had no involvement with the branding of the event, and that the slogan -- which Fitton described as “an obvious play on a popular Obama presidential campaign theme” -- was devised by a university student. (For the comically tenuous link the right is claiming connects the slogan to Obama, click here.)

Nonetheless, Judicial Watch demanded the university send them “any and all communications, contracts or correspondence between the University of Arizona and The White House concerning, regarding or relating to T-shirts bearing the logo 'Together We Thrive: Tucson & America,' distributed to attendees at the January 12, 2011, memorial service for the victims of the January 8, 2011, Tucson shooting.”

The result? “On January 20 the University told us it had no documents responsive to our first request.”

So, Judicial Watch dug deep and came up with the same result as Politifact: no White House involvement. Case closed, right?


If we are to believe this official response, there are no records showing Obama White House involvement. Not only are we curious, but we're skeptical. And we will push back a bit to ensure we're not being trifled with by yet another government entity that doesn't want to produce embarrassing documents.

Judicial Watch doesn't have any reason to believe that the university is lying to them. They don't have any reason to believe the Obama administration was involved at all. They don't have any explanation as to why the university would construct an elaborate lie about the branding's origin and withhold documents to obscure the White House's involvement.

And yet, they're sure that something fishy is going on, because... well, just because.