In a letter released today, Media Matters chairman David Brock cautioned the media against relying on The Washington Free Beacon for accurate information, noting among other concerns that the site has hired a Republican research firm to obtain information for anti-Hillary Clinton stories. The firm, M Street Insight, has numerous Republican clients this cycle.
From Brock's letter:
On June 21, Business Insider reported on how The Free Beacon obtained tapes from the University of Arkansas library, which The Free Beacon used to publish articles attacking Hillary Clinton, under the byline of Alana Goodman. According to Business Insider, it was not the reporter but one Shawn Reinschmiedt who requested and received the tapes on which The Free Beacon articles were based.
Goldfarb told Business Insider that Reinschmiedt “runs a firm that has been working with the Beacon since we launched.” But Goldfarb did not explain the identity of that firm or its character.
In fact, Reinschmiedt, the former research director of the Republican National Committee, is a founding partner in the Republican opposition research firm M Street Insight. According to Form 990 disclosures filed by The Free Beacon's parent organization, The Center for American Freedom, The Center paid the firm M Street Insight $150,000 for “research consulting” in 2012.
The Free Beacon's “reporting” fails to disclose that The Free Beacon paid a Republican opposition research firm for the information it falsely published as its own journalistic work from the University of Arkansas tapes.
Reinschmiedt and Dan Comstock founded M Street Insight LLC in 2011. The two previously worked together for the Republican National Committee (RNC) and unsuccessful California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. Evan Yost, who previously worked on campaigns for Mitt Romney and John McCain, joined the firm as a principal in 2013.
In a 2011 interview about the firm's founding, Reinschmiedt said he founded the firm to give clients “research in the style that the RNC does it.”
M Street clients this campaign cycle include numerous Republicans, including John Chapman for Congress (MA), Liz Cheney for Senate (WY), Sen. John Cornyn (TX), Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO), Rep. Mike Simpson (ID), and the Republican Governors Association.