Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Affair Between a Printing Lobbyist and Rep. Boehner? Six Reasons Not to Believe It

The claim that a printing-industry lobbyist is having an affair with GOP Congressional leader John Boehner – and that the New York Times is preparing an expose on the supposed scandal – so far isn’t holding up to scrutiny. Here are six reasons to take this non-scandal with more than a grain of salt:
  1. Credibility problem: StarkReports, the liberal blog that first reported the alleged affair Thursday, referred to the woman as a lobbyist for the “American Printers Association.” It’s actually Printing Industries of America. If you’re going to write a piece about the nefarious dealings of a lobbyist, it’s kind of basic to get the name of her organization right. (Notice that I’m not using her name because she’s a private citizen against whom no credible allegation has been made.)
  2. Double credibility problem: By getting PIA's name wrong, StarkReports missed an opportunity to refer to Boehner as “PIA’s adorer”. That’s a crime against blogging. (“Boehner”, by the way, is supposedly pronounced “Baynor”. No woeh!)
  3. No expose: The Times is no-commenting, but a staffer has slipped word to New York magazine that the New York Post story about a Times expose in the works is “utter garbage”. The Post’s hyperventilations about the Times plan to release the expose when it will have maximum impact on Congressional elections looks like something penned by an editorial writer, or maybe someone named Murdoch, rather than a news reporter.
  4. Anonymous sources: StarkReports bases its claim solely on reports from “several sources” that started talking last month. Gee, just as it looks as if Boehner might become House Majority Leader or Speaker of the House, some political operatives decide to start spreading a rumor about him. That doesn’t make the rumor true. Nor does the lobbyist’s refusal to comment.
  5. The lobbyist’s title: The woman’s title at PIA is Vice President of Government Affairs. If she were really having a “government affair” she were trying to hide, wouldn't she have grown uncomfortable with the title and have it changed to something like “VP of Public Policy”.
  6. The printing industry? Come on: It’s not a huge surprise when a powerful Congressman ends up in bed with a lobbyist from the oil or banking industries. But PIA isn’t exactly a powerhouse in Congress whose members are getting big chunks of corporate welfare and handing out huge campaign contributions. Its members' main interest in federal laws these days has to do with the bankruptcy code.

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