CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper began his wrap-up of the New Hampshire presidential primary by observing that it was "a remarkable night." John McCain, who would refer to himself as "Lazarus," had risen from the dead. And Hillary Clinton, who let down her guard and showed genuine emotion, defied pollsters and also ended up the winner. It was remarkable.
CNN's coverage provided yet another resurrection. Ralph Reed, the former director of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition and a failed candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia, was sitting at a CNN news desk.
In hiring Reed as a news analyst, the network demonstrated a uniquely low standard of professional ethics. Reed was close to the center of a criminal enterprise that stole more than $80 million from American Indian tribes and played a large part in the Republican Party's loss of the House in 2006. The scandal enriched lobbyists and consultants, including Reed, and provided Republican candidates with millions in campaign contributions. It sent a dozen people to jail--and the investigation is not yet over, as Congressman John Doolittle (R-CA) knows all too well.
As chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, John McCain directed the only Congressional investigation of the Indian gaming scandal. A Justice Department investigation of the same scandal sent lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH), and a number of other lobbyists and federal officials to prison.
McCain points to his role in putting Abramoff away as proof that he is an "agent of change." His investigation did, in fact, keep the pressure on the Justice Department while it investigated Abramoff.
Yet McCain limited the scope of his investigation to lobbyists who had given money, gifts and trips to members of Congress. His did not allow the committee to investigate any member of Congress. He busted the pimps and johns but granted immunity to the prostitutes who provided services in exchange for money and favors.
Senator McCain seemed to impose other limits that are hard to explain. He somehow failed to call several major players in the Indian gaming scandal to testify before his committee and never fully explained why.
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