Crossroads GPS, the Karl Rove-connected dark-money outfit that works to elect Republicans, is not too strong in the fact-checking department. As I reported this morning, the group has kicked off a transparency initiative targeting the Obama administration—which is a bit hypocritical, given Crossroads GPS’ refusal to disclose its funders. As part of this project, it has touted the “breaking news” scoop that Elizabeth Warren, the White House aide overseeing the start-up of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, had dinner with the American Prospect’s Bob Kuttner, DailyKos.com’s Markos Moulitsas, and me.
A government official dining with journalists and pundits is hardly stop-the-presses material. But, as I noted, Crossroads GPS was wrong: I have never dined with Warren (though I’d be delighted to do so). A Crossroads GPS spokesman told me that my (non-existent) dinner with Warren was listed on her official schedule, which Crossroads GPS has posted on a new web site for this transparency project.
Now that I’ve checked the documents, I’ve found that my original story was not as accurate as it could have been, for Crossroads GPS was more wrong than I had assumed.
The site does list Warren’s calendars for the last three months of 2010. I appear on her October 19, 2010, log at 5:45 PM: “Interview with David Corn.” Yes, I’ve been caught practicing journalism. That interview was for an article that appeared 10 days later and that noted I had interviewed her. Journalist interviews Warren on the record: no scoop here. Plus, her calendar listed her dinner date for that night; it was Mitchell Kapor, an information technology pioneer. That would have been a fun dinner to attend.
As for Moulitsas and Kuttner, the calendars note that Warren had two phone calls scheduled with Kuttner and one breakfast scheduled with Moulitsas. No dinners with any of us. Zero for three.
And there’s more on the hypocrisy front. My original piece neglected to cite a Politico article from last October reporting that when Rove began his American Crossroads effort, the GOP operatives developing the organization claimed they relished transparency and would disclose their donors. But when it became tough to raise money, Rove and his pals specifically created Crossroads GPS so they could accept secret contributions. Politico noted, “With the Crossroads fundraising team, led by Rove, emphasizing to prospective donors the ability to give to Crossroads GPS anonymously, fundraising took off.”
Crossroads GPS was designed as an end-run around transparency. Now it’s claiming to be a champion of openness. Maybe if Rove invites me to dinner, we can discuss what’s wrong with this picture.