Idaho's Dogmatists -- A Day Late And A Dollar Short
My congressman, Bill Sali, is in the news again this week, for a couple of things. Idaho evangelical leader Bryan Fischer reports that the Family Resource Council on Wednesday thanked Congressman Sali for "exposing" taxpayer subsidies of Planned Parenthood. The "exposure" seemingly happened during a special orders speech in front of about 10 people on the House floor earlier this month. So was Congressman Sali the first to "expose" this funding? Of course not... it was all over the 'net a few months ago, including in a blog post from the Republican Study Committee of which Congressman Sali is a member. In general, it seems that Congressman Sali is normally about 3 months late; remember his announcement that he had stopped the ATF from handing out Leatherman tools with an "Always Think Forfeiture" engraving, when it turns out that the agency had stopped using the slogan months earlier in response to complaints from others -- a fact that even the simplest Google search would have revealed.
Speaking of "late", Congressman Sali is also one of only 2 Congresspeople who still hasn't filed his campaign finance report, now 9 days late. This brings up an interesting question -- are Idaho's dogmatists just incompetent? Or do they actually skew data and just assume their supporters don't bother to check their sources? Check out a post from Adam's Blog yesterday; I happen to know that Adam isn't an idiot, and that he just cherry-picks data to suit his causes. He's trying to make a big deal out of the "fact" that the Democratic nominee for Congress in my district has gotten 71% of his contributions from out of state. While he allows that "these reports are not complete", he utterly fails to mention that the methodology of the report he uses is skewed heavily: "The numbers on this page are calculated from contributions of more than $200 from individuals, as reported to the Federal Election Commission. PAC dollars are not included." (If you go to the page that has the PAC dollars, which one can assume are mostly from out of state, you'll see that Sali has outraised Minnick in that category, as of June 30th, by $381K to $45.5K.)
A quick look at Minnick's most recent campaign finance report shows that the vast majority of his contributors are people making small (under $200) donations from here in Idaho. Adam, to his credit, did report that the data he used was not complete. Adam also allows comments, and is very good about responding to readers who question his tactics. Bryan Fischer is another case altogether.
In his post today, Fischer gets really excited about Adam's post, but doesn't think to put in any qualifiers. (He also doesn't link back to Adam's post, so his readers can't easily see the comments on Adam's sites from those with dissenting views. From my point of view, quoting a blogger without linking to them is pretty weak.) Fischer says:
The non-partisan Open Secrets website reports that an astonishing 71% of Minnick’s campaign funds have come from out of state. Minnick has raised more money in New York City than in Boise.Both statements are flat-out lies; Minnick's "campaign funds" include individual contributions of all amounts, personal donations from the candidate, and PAC donations, among other things. Also, when contributions of less than $200 are included, Minnick has raised way more money in Boise than in NYC. (Plus, the CPR report didn't include the last reporting period.) Does Fischer know that he's lying, or is he really that ignorant? To be honest, I'm not sure in his case. He doesn't allow comments on his website, so you can't really get into a real back-and-forth with him to determine if he's shady, or just not too bright. There are some clues in his previous posts, however:
1) Yesterday, he posted that "Tax Freedom Day" was on July 17 this year. This directly contradicts the link he provided, which says that Tax Freedom Day was on April 23. (He apparently got it confused with "Cost Of Government Day", which calculates the "costs" of things like the Pure Food and Drug Act.)
2) I reported earlier that he changed the verb tense of his linked post to make it look like people he was writing about were still facing charges.
So, is Bryan Fischer intentionally dishonest? Or does he generally just not have a clue? At this point, I'm really not sure which one it is.
Labels: Bill Sali