The Mirror

OH PLEASE! Ethics Chairman Blames Reporter For Lawmakers Having To Reveal Free Trips

House Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-Texas) is trashing National Journal reporter Shane Goldmacher for having the audacity to report on lawmakers quietly removing a provision stating they must list their free trips on their annual financial disclosure reports. After the committee removed the requirement, a “media firestorm” ensued. Now they’ve reversed the decision. Now lawmakers have to report their free trips – and the chairman is pissed off.

It’s easy to use a reporter as a punching bag isn’t it? And Conaway squarely blames Goldmacher for the committee’s decision to reverse a ruling that would have otherwise allowed lawmakers to get away with not reporting those freebies.

Seriously, is there anyone more in need of looking in a gigantic full-length mirror right now than Conaway?

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Conaway announced the decision to undo their dumb call on a local Texas radio talk show. Of course he’s now saying,  ”It was a wrong decision and we’re going to fix it.” Blah blah blah, congressman.

But it gets better. The chairman then said the firestorm occurred ‘only because one reporter who makes a living jacking people up about these trips’ wrote about the issue. ‘We had gotten not one complaint from the public,’ he added of the unannounced change. ‘Not one person had looked for this information except this reporter.’”

As you’ll note in in Goldmacher’s original story, Conaway and the rest of the committee was all tight-lipped about it. He did not return a call for comment. Another lawmaker, ranking member Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) also wouldn’t comment. She helpfully referred the reporter to committee staff, who, helpfully also didn’t comment.

On the other hand, angering a lawmaker on something so obvious like this? There are really few things political reporters want more than to achieve this and Goldmacher deserves props. On the other hand, Goldmacher made me wait while he finished some meeting that went long to then call me up and say he wouldn’t be commenting. “I don’t want to be quoted in any way,” he said. “I’m declining to comment.”

Duly noted. Gee thanks, Shane.