Last week I wrote an op-ed about how shameful it is that the press has not investigated the troubling conduct of David Brock, Hillary Clinton’s top attack dog. That conduct includes paying $850,000 to keep a former boyfriend from reporting damaging information to the IRS about how Brock was running Media Matters, his partisan media watch organization. Although Brock has repeatedly asked for an inquiry into the Trump Foundation, no reporter has looked into these troubling allegations by Brock’s former boyfriend about his own conduct, or even asked Brock about them.
After that piece ran, I learned that Media Matters was contemplating suing Fox News for allegedly hacking into the phone records of its officials, including David Brock. Bradley Beychok, President of Media Matters, claimed that “Roger Ailes and Fox News broke the law by hacking into the phone records of Media Matters employees. Anyone involved in the illegal hacking should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and we are considering all legal options.” Mr. Beychok has leveled some serious allegations, but they are quite ironic given Mr. Brock’s own background in hacking.
Beychok and others should be aware of at least one instance in which Brock was directly involved with the hacking of a telephone record. I worked closely with Brock in the writing of his book The Seduction of Hillary Rodham, published in 1996. The publisher of his book had intended to fax a draft of his manuscript to Brock but accidentally sent it to the wrong fax number. Brock called me in an absolute panic. He was desperate to find out who had received the fax, and was particularly worried that it may have been faxed to a Democrat. A few hours later, Brock called to tell me that a friend of his who was a partner at a prestigious law firm had put Brock in touch with a lawyer who worked within the telephone company.
After speaking with Brock, the lawyer at the telephone company retrieved the unlisted fax number from the company’s database and gave the customer’s identity to Brock. When Brock recounted this conversation to me he specifically stated that the lawyer had told him this was illegal and he would be fired if it ever were disclosed. With this customer information, Brock hired a lawyer and went after the recipients of the fax—who, it turns out, were both loyal Democrats, including one who was a presidential appointee in the Clinton Administration. Brock’s lawyer was able to ensure that the recipients returned the draft manuscript.
Brock’s involvement in illegally accessing the phone records of a private citizen raises serious questions even twenty years later. Will Brock be questioned about the incident? Has he done this on other occasions? Is Beychok troubled by the episode? Given his standard on hacking or illegally accessing phone records, does Beychok believe Brock should be prosecuted for this conduct?
As a close advisor to Hillary Clinton, Brock should be questioned about his conduct in this instance and on the other matters raised in my previous piece. In fact, the press should ask Hillary Clinton why she counts such an unsavory person among her close advisors. Brock and the notorious Sidney Blumenthal constitute Hillary Clinton’s own “basket of deplorables.”
Mark Paoletta practices law in Washington, D.C. He served in the Bush 41 White House Counsel’s office and was a Chief Investigative Counsel for a Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives for a decade.