By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Rick Santorum told Ron Paul in Saturday’s debate: “You should know better than to cite George Soros-like organizations.” The comment came in response to attacks on Santorum’s record from the Texas Congressman and libertarian running in the Republican presidential primaries.
Exposed for using Soros-funded research in an attack ad charging that Santorum had been “one of the most corrupt” members of Congress, Paul had no explanation or response, except to say that “somebody” had done a survey attacking Santorum and he used it in the ad. The Ron Paul ad includes the line, “I’m Ron Paul and I approve this message.”
The exchange adds to Republican fears that Paul is trying to weaken or divide Republicans in order to guarantee Obama’s re-election.
The Soros organization alluded to by Santorum is the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). It is the source of the corruption charge against Santorum in the Ron Paul ad.
In the debate, Paul said that “…somebody did make a survey and I think he came out as one of the top corrupt individuals because he took so much money from the lobbyists.”
That “somebody” was CREW, a Soros-funded group that targets Republicans and conservatives.
Santorum shot back: “Let’s talk about the corruption issue. The person who—the group that called me corrupt was a group called CREW. If you haven’t been sued by CREW, you’re not a conservative. CREW is this left-wing organization that puts out a list every election of the top Republicans who have tough races and calls them all corrupt because they take contributions from PACs. It’s a ridiculous charge. And you should know better than to cite George Soros-like organizations to say that they’re corrupt.”
Former Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell was the subject of a false complaint from CREW, which was dismissed in July of this year. O’Donnell reacted by saying, “We are, of course, very pleased that the U.S. Attorney’s office has finally seen through the bogus CREW complaint and concluded it is without merit, because there was never any evidence to support their allegations. CREW interjected itself into the campaign within hours of my winning the Delaware GOP primary, even though CREW had no actual basis for its complaint. Even more troubling is that CREW, as a 501(c)(3) organization, is prohibited by law from intervening in political campaigns—but they more than intervened in the campaign, doing everything they could possibly do to sabotage my election.”
As a result, O’Donnell’s group, ChristinePAC, has asked the IRS to strip CREW of its tax exempt status for engaging in partisan political activities in violation of federal law. O’Donnell’s PAC has also released a video exposing CREW’S “illegal, partisan agenda” and highlighting Soros’s funding of the group. The video includes excerpts of an interview with CREW executive director Melanie Sloan talking about how the Soros-funded Open Society Institute (OSI) is “a very big donor” and that the OSI is “very happy with what we do.”
Another website devoted to exposing CREW says, “An analysis of CREW’s ‘watchdog’ activities reveals a systematic effort to disproportionately target Republicans and conservative-leaning groups with often-frivolous lawsuits, ethics complaints, and petitions for investigations by law enforcement agencies. An analysis of CREW’s activities demonstrates that it disproportionately targets conservatives by a ratio of more than 8-to-1. At the same time, the corresponding federal oversight agencies responsible for investigating CREW’s complaints indicates that, historically, Democrats have been investigated far more often for ethics violations.”
A Washington Times column by Robert Knight, “Time to disarm partisan CREW,” noted, “Like the American Civil Liberties Union, CREW occasionally goes after Democrats, if only to maintain a facade of nonpartisanship. For instance, CREW targeted disgraced New York Rep. Charles B. Rangel and Louisiana Rep. William ‘Cold Cash’ Jefferson, who hid $90,000 in his freezer. Its current list of ‘most corrupt’ members of Congress includes 10 Democrats in addition to 15 Republicans, up from just three Democrats and 17 Republicans in 2006. But overall, most of CREW’s bullets are fired at conservatives and Republicans.”
CREW went after Santorum years ago but its current Republican target is former House Speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. A review of its current news releases shows two attacking Gingrich and one highlighting Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation, parent of Fox News, as “scoundrel of the year.”
Perhaps this has something to do with Fox News running a story on CREW’s frivolous complaints against Republicans.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].