Politics

David Brock Leaves Executive Spot At Liberal Watchdog Group

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

Hillary Clinton attack dog David Brock is out at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the progressive watchdog group announced Wednesday.

Brock, a former conservative journalist who converted to Clintonism in the early 2000s, said that he is leaving the group, which he took over as chair in 2014, to refocus on other progressive organizations he oversees.

“Due to my stepped up political activities in the American Bridge opposition research super PAC, I decided to step off CREW’s board to ensure its public reputation for non-partisanship,” Brock said in a statement released by CREW. “I’m very proud of the work CREW has accomplished during my two years on board, and its work is more relevant now than ever.”

The move is part of a massive restructuring effort taking place on the Left in the wake of Donald Trump’s White House win.

Media Matters, which Brock controls, announced last week that it would be refocusing its efforts away from monitoring Fox News to covering so-called “fake news” published by online conservative outlets.

Norman Eisen, who co-founded CREW, will return as chairman of the advocacy group. He recently served as a fellow at the Brookings Institution and worked in the Obama administration.

Richard Painter, who served as George W. Bush’s top ethics lawyer, will take over as vice chairman, the spot which Brock currently holds.

CREW has declined during Brock’s helm. The group was once known in Washington for its “Most Corrupt Member of Congress” list. And though it has tended to investigate Republicans more than Democrats, the organization filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and Federal Election Commission complaints against politicians in both parties. (RELATED: David Brock’s CREW: A Watchdog That Doesn’t Bite)

But that appeared to change under Brock’s tenure.

Though Brock asserted when he was chosen as chairman of the board in Aug. 2014 that CREW would be more aggressive, the group has not only failed to carry out significant investigations of Republicans over the past two years, but it has positioned itself as a lapdog for Hillary Clinton.

A prime example is CREW’s silence regarding a significant FOIA request for Clinton’s State Department emails that Anne Weismann filed in Dec. 2012 when she served as the watchdog’s chief counsel.

Even though Clinton used a private email account, the State Department told CREW that it had no information to provide. Had the State Department produced the information to CREW and other outlets, the public would have known much sooner about Clinton’s unorthodox email practices.

Pressed by The Daily Caller last year and earlier this year, CREW refused to comment on the matter. It also did not join other watchdog groups that sued the State Department after also being misled. In January, the State Department’s inspector general cited the CREW filing as an example of the State Department’s “inaccurate and incomplete” response to FOIA requests. (RELATED: Scathing IG Report Puts David Brock In A Bind)

Weismann, who now heads the Campaign for Accountability, another watchdog group, told TheDC earlier this year that she “absolutely” would have followed up on the State Department’s false denial of the email inquiry.

Weismann, who left CREW during Brock’s tenure, said that the issue was “absolutely within CREW’s wheelhouse.”

Ironically, Brock recently noted the lack of an aggressive watchdog group on the Left. He cited the conservative Judicial Watch and its work on Clinton’s emails and those of her various State Department staffers.

“Judicial Watch has a $30 million budget, and they had a significant impact on the election,” he told Politico last month, noting that CREW’s budget is only $2 million. “And if we’re heading into an administration that looks like it could well be as corrupt as the gilded age, we need to significantly reinforce the capacities for an aggressive ethics watchdog.”

It is unclear if Brock will have any relationship with CREW after the personnel shift. A spokesman for the organization did not return a request for comment.

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