Showing posts with label Fox News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fox News. Show all posts

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Hypocrisy Of News Corp's Wall Street Journal On Lugar Residency Debate

It looks like News Corp. has a double standard when it comes to judging the legality of the residence of members of Congress. The media giant's Wall Street Journal penned an editorial attacking opponents of Sen. Richard Lugar as "low-road conservatives" who have resorted to "Mickey Mouse campaign tactics" by raising honest questions about the legality of Sen. Richard Lugar and his wife, Charlene, claiming as a residence for voting purposes a home in Indianapolis that they've neither owned nor occupied in 35 years. It was quite a different story in 2008 when another News Corp. instrument, Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" challenged the legal residency of U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL). Bill O'Reilly and the Wall Street Journal's John Fund, the author of the book "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy," teamed up for a segment challenging the legality of the Florida congressman using his mother-in-law's home in Delray Beach, Florida as his Florida residence while residing in a tony Maryland suburban neighborhood on the Potomac River with his family. Check out the transcript of the show's segment titled, "The Factor Confronts Rep. Robert Wexler About Questionable Florida residence", particularly this passage where the WSJ's John Fund accuses Wexler of maintaining a phantom residence to avoid paying taxes in Maryland:
JOHN FUND, WALL STREET JOURNAL COLUMNIST: No, I don't think so. There's no law that says that a member of Congress has to live in his congressional district, but he does have to maintain some residence in Florida. So he lists this residence, but it's not — certainly not with the letter of the law and probably not with the spirit of the law because, look, I think we should take pity on Congressman Wexler. I think his voters should take up a collection so he doesn't have to live with his mother-in-law.
O'REILLY:  But he doesn't live with his mother-in-law. I want to be very clear about that.
FUND: That's his claim to…
O'REILLY:  If I run for Congress in Ohio, OK, say I, O'Reilly, decide to run for Congress in Ohio. All I have to do is get an apartment there or have somebody else get an apartment in my name because Wexler's not paying the freight for the Delray Beach place. His mother-in-law is paying it. So what is it — you know, it doesn't look like he has any tie to Florida at all.
FUND:  Except that he appears on the ballot there. And people keep sending him back to Congress.
O'REILLY:  But that's OK?
FUND:  If they knew about this, I think there would be some questions because most members of Congress live where they were elected. Some live in Washington, but they maintain a real residence back home.
O'REILLY:  But you get money, Mr. Fund, to maintain a Washington residence, correct, if you're elected to Congress?
FUND:  There's a housing deduction...
O'REILLY:  Right.
FUND: order to enable you to keep two homes: one in the district and one in Washington.
O'REILLY:  OK, but the bottom line is Wexler doesn't have a Florida residence. He doesn't live in this house. So it's a ruse. Is it not a ruse?
FUND: It's a phantom residence because I doubt that he's really spending time sleeping on the couch at his mother-in-law's, yes, especially not with his three children.
O'REILLY:  OK, so we established that, and it'd be interesting to see, you know, if Wexler would agree with this. Maybe he would. But it looks to me to be a ruse, OK? He's telling people he's a Floridian, but he's a Maryland guy.
All right. You say it's legal, you can do that based upon how he set it up. Now taxes, doesn't he have to pay taxes in both states if he has dual residency there? What does he do with taxes?
FUND: Members of Congress can choose to pay taxes either in the Washington area or in their home state.
O'REILLY:  OK, so they have the choice. So he would pay it in Florida because Florida doesn't have a state tax and Maryland taxes like crazy.
FUND:  And you have just identified one of the big reasons he has to have this phantom residence because that enables him to pay no Florida income tax.

What say you, Bill O'Reilly? At least Wexler had a couch to sleep on at his mother-in-law's home. That's more than Lugar can claim at Elizabeth Hughes' home. If anyone engaged in "low-rent politics" with the residency issue, it's Fox News' Bill O'Reilly and WSJ's John Fund.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How Many Jobs Can Bayh Juggle?

When it comes to profiteering from one's public service, nobody has Evan Bayh beat. Throughout his service as a statewide official in Indiana and as a U.S. Senator representing the state, he and his wife traded on his public positions to land jobs and corporate board positions that made the couple multi-millionaires. When he started his public career in 1986, he had net assets of no more than $50,000.00. Now he and his wife are conservatively worth more than $12 million. When Bayh belatedly announced he was not going to run for re-election to his Senate seat last year, he claimed he wanted to spend more time with his family. In announcing his decision to not seek re-election, Bayh gave us the impression he had only altruistic intentions:

After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so in Congress has waned,” he said.

“My decision was not motivated by political concern,” he added. “Even in the current challenging environment, I am confident in my prospects for re-election.”

"But running for the sake of winning an election, just to remain in public office, is not good enough,” Bayh said. “And it has never been what motivates me. At this time I simply believe I can best contribute to society in another way: creating jobs by helping grow a business, helping guide an institution of higher learning or helping run a worthy charitable endeavor.”
So what did Bayh have in mind when he said he desired to "grow a business", "guide and institution of higher learning" or run "a worthy charitable endeavor"? Well, first he took a job as a senior adviser with an international financial firm that his heavily funded with Middle Eastern sovereign funds, lobbies Congress on a wide range of issues and owns a large stake in a gaming company that owns Indiana casinos licensed by his administration when he was governor. A short time later he became a strategic adviser for a K Street law firm, McGuire Woods, that includes several lobbying clients with strong ties to Indiana. Now Fox News announces Bayh will become a political analyst and commentator for the cable news network. This should come as no surprise since Bayh's Saudi Arabian master is now the second-largest stakeholder in News Corp., parent company of Fox News. If Bayh isn't the most self-serving, conceited person to ever hold public office in the state of Indiana, I don't know who is. And no, he won't be back home in Indiana any time soon now that he and his wife have bled the state dry.