Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Darrell Issa Making Progress if New York Times is Libeling him

As the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious continues to build quiet but very substantial momentum, the man at the tip of the spear in that investigation, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has a new badge of honor that should demonstrate he's on the right track. New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau published a hit piece on Issa that is so egregiously false, Issa has decided to go to the mat over it, demanding retractions from the New York Times. In fact, Issa's team has identified a total of 13 factual errors. One of those errors was Lichtblau's assertion that Issa's district office overlooks a golf course.

Here is a video shot from Issa's office that clearly shows there is no golf course in sight.

As for some of the other 12 errors, here is a taste of what Lichtblau did via Issa's website:
The New York Times story cites three central examples it believes justifies these allegations:

* A medical complex purchased by Rep. Issa in 2008 that the Times story alleges enjoyed a 60 percent appreciation as it increased in value from $10.3 million to $16.6 million, "at least in part because of the government-sponsored road work" that Rep. Issa supported.

* That he "went easy" on Toyota during 2010 hearings on unintended acceleration due to "his electronics company's role as a major supplier of alarms to Toyota."

* An alleged 1900 percent profit Rep. Issa's charitable foundation made on an investment of "less that $19,000" that was sold seven months later for $357,000 "months before the stock market crashed."
Ok, so that's what Lichtblau reported. Take a look at what Issa's office said in response:
*The medical complex the Times story alleges enjoyed a 60 percent appreciation since it was purchased for $10.3 million and is now valued at $16.6 million is a patently false claim. According to the buyer's final settlement statement, the property in question was not purchased for $10.3 million as the New York Times reported but for $16.6 million – the exact same figure of its current tax assessment. According to these numbers, the appreciation is not 60 percent but roughly zero. In addition, the government sponsored road work noted in the article has not even begun and Rep. Issa's requests for the project (which were publicly announced and made on behalf of and at the request of the City of Vista, and the San Diego Association of Governments which is the regional transportation planning authority) all came before the 2008 property purchase.

*The allegation that Rep. Issa "went easy" on Toyota during 2010 hearings because of "his electronics company's role as a major supplier of alarms to Toyota" is again an example of a factual error in the Times story that lends no support to the story's central premise. While the Times story tells readers that Rep. Issa's former company, Directed Electronics, is a "major supplier of alarms to Toyota," the story offers no evidence, and Directed Electronics is, in fact, not a supplier to Toyota. The New York Times also fails to note that Rep. Issa does not have a personal financial interest in Directed Electronics.

*The "1,900 percent" profit allegation is, again, based on reporting errors by the New York Times. This is assertion is based on an incorrect form obtained by the Times. According to a financial transaction record, the Issa Family Foundation's initial investment in the AIM Small Company fund was not $19,000 but $500,000. The asset was later sold for $375,000 resulting in a $125,000 loss – not a 1900 percent gain as was reported.
It's mighty coincidental that the New York Times is doing this to Darrell Issa at a time when the Oversight Committee chairman appears to have really dug into a scandal that is increasingly proving to reach all the way to Eric Holder at best and the White House at worst. Still, as Issa's team is mired in uncovering the details of that scandal, it decided it could not ignore Lichtblau's charges. No matter what the Times does in response to Issa, this appears to be one heck of a smack down.

It's safe to say that after throwing down the gauntlet with these apparently quite factual refutations, the ball is in Lichtblau's court. Will he and the Times double down or will it admit to libel by saying nothing?

Read it all. h/t Powerline

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