Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More On Mourdock Hits Back Against Howey And Rusthoven

A few days ago, I told you about how State Treasurer Richard Mourdock had taken strong exception to a charge made against him by Brian Howey of Howey Politics and Barnes & Thornburg's Peter Rusthoven that he was responsible for $1.2 billion in recent losses incurred by Indiana's Public Employees Retirement Fund. As Mourdock explained, he merely serves as one of several trustees in his capacity as State Treasurer on PERF's board, which is largely made up of appointees of Gov. Mitch Daniels. The board actually hires outside financial advisers to manage and invest the funds. Howey's criticism of Mourdock didn't end with the PERF losses. Mourdock has penned a response to Howey's criticism, which to his credit, Howey has published in full at his website.

Mourdock is particularly upset with what he calls Howey's "errant and bias reporting" on his personal finances. In particular, Mourdock took exception to Howey's suggestion that he relied on insider information to unload a large part of his stock portfolio prior to S&P's decision to downgrade the nation's credit rating from its long-standing AAA status.

Howey wrote: “Mourdock unloaded his personal stock portfolio on Aug. 2, the day Congress passed and President Obama signed the debt ceiling deal.” That’s wrong. The order to sell my stock was placed well before Aug. 2 and occurred over several days.

Howey, who has criticized me previously, apparently thought innuendo was in order and attempted to smear me by including in his article: “The Washington Post reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into whether certain market participants learned of the downgrade before its announcement.”

Fact: Standard and Poor’s announced publicly weeks before the downgrade that if $4 trillion wasn’t cut from the federal budget a downgrade would occur. Call me a prudent investor because I believed them.

Mourdock claims another report by Howey made it appear that he had not done his homework when he called for the firing of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner. Howey noted that Lugar voted against Geitner's confirmation when it came before the Senate. Mourdock says he was aware of that fact, but that he still expected Lugar to show leadership by leading the push for his resignation.

Before making that public statement, I researched the issue and determined that Senator Lugar voted against the confirmation of Geithner. During a TV interview on the story, a reporter shot back with “but Mr. Lugar voted against the Geithner confirmation.” I nodded my head affirmatively on camera and said: “He did. Well he gets a chance to lead now ….”

In his written text, Howey reported my response as “He did? Well he gets a chance to lead now…. “

By altering my affirmative and definitive statement to a question, Howey clearly wanted the reader to believe I was neither prepared nor knowledgeable.

Finally, Mourdock takes strong exception to the mischaracterization of his challenge of the Obama administration's bailout of the Chrysler Corporation that allowed secured creditors' rights, including Indiana pension fund investments, to be wiped out in contravention of long-standing bankruptcy law.

Howey’s criticisms of me began two years ago when I fought to stop the confiscation of Indiana pensioners’ funds in the Chrysler bankruptcy. He disagreed with my actions and had the right then and now to disagree with me. But still, two years after the fact, the fundamental reporting is wrong. He wrote that Chrysler stock had been purchased. No, secured debt was purchased not stock. This is a critical distinction in this important story.

Howey continued: “The U.S. Supreme Court refused to take the case.” Wrong again. On Dec. 14, 2009, the nation’s High Court granted our petition in the case and acted immediately to vacate the decision of the lower court that led to the approval of the Chrysler bankruptcy plan. He may not have approved of my actions but the facts cannot be denied and ought to be reported.

Mourdock concluded:

Facts are stubborn things.

I sincerely believe reporters have tough jobs as facts are not always easily discernible. I do not expect perfection. I accept fair criticism. Howey’s recent article demonstrates that facts and context weren’t convenient to the story he wished to sell.

Readers deserve facts and truth. Howey left them badly wanting.


Bill said...

Herr Mourdock and Adolf Delph are starting to understand what its like to play with the big boys.

These two rookies need to step back and look at what asses they are making of themselves. Their hate is spilling over

Marycatherine Barton said...

Here, Richard Mourdock very well explains how Brian Howey operates. He has got a hard campaign ahead of him.