AP's Proclamation: 'Democrats Declare Swamp of Corruption Drained'

The AP's Larry Margasak ran with the Democrats' latest talking point in a Tuesday article which carried the headline, "Democrats Declare Swamp of Corruption Drained." The writer, referring to a line by Nancy Pelosi, explained that the remark "might seem odd, but it's an emerging strategy: Separate Democratic-initiated ethics from the cases of Reps. Charles Rangel...and Maxine Waters."

Despite naming Rangel and Waters in his article, Margasak completely omitted other Democratic ethics scandals since they took control of Congress in 2007, such as the case against former Louisiana Representative William Jefferson and the three members of the party linked to the scandal surrounding the PMA Group (former Rep. John Murtha, Virginia's Jim Moran, and Rep. Pete Visclosky of Indiana).

The AP writer expanded on the headline in his lede: "Democratic leaders say they've emptied the swamp of congressional corruption. Never mind the ethics trials to come for two longtime party members. 'Drain the swamp we did, because this was a terrible place,' Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week of the Republican rule in the House that ended in January 2007."

After using his "emerging strategy" line, the AP writer further explained that "Pelosi needs a strategy because Republicans have been adept at jumping on the troubles of Rangel, the former House Ways and Means chairman, and Waters, a senior member of the Financial Services Committee. Republican news releases going to states and districts with close congressional races demand that Democratic candidates give up money donated by the two lawmakers."

Later in the article, Margasak continued to carry the water of the Democratic leadership in Congress:

Republicans love to throw back at Pelosi her "drain the swamp" promise of four years ago, when Democrats used the issue to help capture the House. "The swamp was described in the press as a 'criminal syndicate' operating out of the Republican leader's office," she said last week in defining the phrase.

Pelosi said House Democrats have implemented "the toughest ethics reform in a generation" through "landmark legislation requiring unprecedented level of disclosure."

"Are there going to be individual issues to be dealt with? Yes. I never said that there wouldn't be," Pelosi said. "But we would have a process to deal with it."

Throughout the report, the writer devoted only one sentence to the allegations against Congressman Rangel, in the ninth paragraph: "The charges against Rangel included failing to disclose assets and income, delayed payment of federal taxes and improper use of a subsidized New York apartment for his campaign office." He devoted much more attention to the Waters case, reproducing two lines from the California liberal's statement in response to the ethics proceedings:

Waters faces three charges for requesting federal help for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on the board of directors. Waters fought back, in a written statement that said, "No benefit, no improper action, no failure to disclose, no one influenced: no case."...

The charges against Waters were filed July 28 by a four-member investigative panel and announced Monday without any details. An eight-member subcommittee of four Democrats and four Republicans will now conduct the Waters trial. The specifics of the allegations won't be made public until the panel - four Democrats and four Republicans - hold its still-unscheduled organizational meeting.

Waters said in her statement: "I have not violated any House rules. Therefore, I simply will not be forced to admit to something I did not do and instead have chosen to respond to charges made by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct in a public hearing."

-Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.