If you like the Illinois GOP, you’ll love Mitt Romney, Part 6.
We’re not going to see better behavior from people running for office unless we demand it. Mitt Romney and his financial supporters have been unashamed by the lies they continue to tell about Newt Gingrich. But because we live in an era when “anything goes” and any mention of moral standards is seen as uncool, it’s not surprising that too many Americans hesitate to call a lie a lie or a liar a liar.
Since too many people are more comfortable with immorality than they are with morality, it’s much easier for them to just stay silent and cringe at the notion of joining in with a call for higher standards. It is any wonder cultural decay is all around us?
That said, it’s obvious why a certain percentage of Republican primary voters would turn a blind eye to Mitt Romney’s and his Super PAC’s lies.
Many of them, after all, work for the government and have no desire to see it shrunk. Or they currently or soon hope to have a profitable contract with the government. Or they work in campaign politics, and there’s no easier way to make a good living in campaign politics than to lie about your opponent.
One Illinois example. If you’re a highway engineer and hope to get rich someday as the “Hastert Highway” is built through DeKalb and Kane Counties, you know where your bread is buttered. You’re not going to bite the hand that is going to feed you. The gameplan is simple: talk conservatism and limited government and then once your guy gets elected you can laugh all the way to the bank as government continues to grow as it has for the past fifty years.
Mitt Romney and his supporters are comfortable with lying. The Newt Gingrich campaign has had to resort to legal action. See the letter below.
February 16, 2012
General Manager/Station Manager/Vice President
Dear Sir or Madam:
This letter issues on behalf of Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (the “House”), Republican candidate for President of the United States, and his principal campaign committee, Newt 2012, Inc.
It has recently come to our attention that your station has either been asked to run, or may soon be asked to run, various advertising spots produced by the Mitt Romney aligned Super PAC, Restore Our Future, Inc. (“ROF”). Included among the Romney advertisements submitted to your station for broadcast are likely to be various spots that specifically mention Speaker Gingrich and assert that he partnered with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in support of legislation providing financial support for China’s “one-child policy.”
The content of these advertisements state and/or suggest that Speaker Gingrich “co-sponsored a bill with Nancy Pelosi that would have given $60 million a year to a U.N. program supporting China’s brutal one-child policy.” This statement is fundamentally NOT TRUE, or as PolitiFact.org put it – a “Pants on Fire” lie. In fact, as clearly shown by the language of the actual legislation at issue and the false ratings given to these ROF ads by various media and fact-check organizations, ANY statement, suggestion, or innuendo that Speaker Gingrich supported China’s one-child policy or worked with Congresswoman Pelosi to provide funds for such a policy is fundamentally false and misleading. If published after your receipt of this letter, it will be a knowing publication of a false statement. As such, it represents a defamatory communication, which exposes this station to potential civil liability.
In turn, we do hereby DEMAND that your station immediately REFUSE, and if started, CEASE airing any such advertisements and refrain from broadcasting their content until such time as the libelous statements have been removed.
FALSITY OF CONTENT
Any statement or suggestion that Speaker Gingrich worked with Speaker Pelosi to provide funding for a U.N. program supporting China’s “one-child policy” is unequivocally false. A basic review of the piece of legislation referenced in ROF’s advertisements undeniably establishes the invalidity of such an accusation.
The statement of concern in ROF’s advertisements relates to a piece of legislation known as House Resolution 1078, which was introduced on February 22, 1989 but never passed. That bill, labeled as the Global Warming Prevention Act of 1989, primarily set national goals for the reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide and encouraged countries around the world to forge agreements addressing greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the legislation required the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor various environmental problems associated with greenhouse gases and develop plans for a future administrative response to such problems.
As part of these efforts, the bill also called for the federal government to provide financial support to certain developing countries that endeavored to pursue economic growth in an environmentally-sensitive fashion. In conjunction with this financial aid effort, the language of H.R. 1078 specifically called for monetary support of the United Nations Population Fund (“UNPF”), an international development agency focused on helping developing countries and their citizens tackle various problems associated with population growth, migration, aging, climate change, urbanization, gender inequality, poverty, and disease.
The language in the ROF advertisements at issue specifically contends that H.R. 1078 would have provided $60 million a year to UNPF, which may or may not have been involved in supporting family planning activities in China. According to ROF, this would have included financial support for the nation’s one-child policy, the Chinese government’s effort to limit internal population growth to one child per couple through methods such as forced sterilization and abortion. As set forth below, however, this ROF contention regarding H.R. 1078 is fundamentally and absolutely FALSE.
The claim is false because the explicit language of H.R. 1078, Section 1102, Part C specifically prohibits any funding provided under the bill to be used for “the performance of involuntary sterilization or abortion or to coerce any person to accept family planning.” (See Attachment #1, p. 2). Based upon this provision in the legislation, no funding (let alone 60 million dollars) could have been provided to UNPF if it in any way participated in activities associated with, supporting or promoting China’s one-child policy. And no matter what ROF claims to the contrary, H.R. 1078 clearly prohibits the federal government from providing a single dollar of assistance to any public health or aid organization supporting sterilization, abortion, or coerced family planning in China or any other country.
The plain truth is that the explicit language of H.R. 1078 explicitly forbade any federal spending that could have supported China’s one-child policy. As such, it is inherently false for any advertisement to claim that Speaker Gingrich, Congresswoman Pelosi, or any of the other 142 co-sponsors of H.R. 1078 attempted to give money to a U.N. program supporting forced sterilization or abortion in China. For ROF to contend otherwise only goes to show the lengths to which the Super PAC will go to distort the record of Speaker Gingrich and spread erroneous information to the people of Georgia.
Beyond these facts, however, it is also important to note that the veracity of ROF’s one-child policy claims has been openly called into question by a variety of impartial observers since the Super PAC first began producing television spots attacking Gingrich’s co-sponsorship of H.R. 1078. When ROF ran similar spots in Florida leading up to the state’s January 31st presidential preference primary, PolitiFact Florida openly criticized the claim and characterized it as “Pants on Fire”, its lowest “Truth-O-Meter” rating and a brand of abject falsity. (See Attachment #2). In light of ROF’s recent decision to run ads making the same statements in Georgia, PolitiFact Georgia has also reached the same conclusion – rating ROF’s one-child policy claim a “Pants on Fire” lie. (See Attachment #3). Other members of the news media have also picked up on PolitiFact’s analysis and/or independently reported on the falsity of ROF’s one-child policy claims, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, ABC News, FactCheck.org, and WZVN-TV in Florida. (See Attachment #4, pg. 2 & Attachments #5-7).
In sum, there is absolutely no support for the one-child policy claims made by ROF in its latest Georgia advertisements. Not only does the language of the legislation itself stand in direct contradiction to ROF’s statements about Speaker Gingrich, but various neutral parties have independently assessed the one-child policy claims and judged them to be fundamentally untrue. As such, this station should consider statements attempting to link Speaker Gingrich to support for China’s one-child policy in any ROF advertising as patently false, misleading, and defamatory. And, given the fact that the language of H.R. 1078 is abundantly clear and part of the general public record, we are left with no other conclusion but to assume that such communications by ROF are made with either knowledge or reckless disregard of their inherent falsity.
Through the above repudiation of the falsities contained within ROF’s present Georgia television spots regarding Speaker Gingrich and H.R. 1078, your station has been given notice and absolute knowledge of the defamatory nature of such advertisements. As a result, any further attempt to broadcast or communicate such advertisements or any of their inaccurate content to the general public will expose your station to potential liability for both libel and false light invasion of privacy. In turn, and as previously stated above, we do hereby request that your station immediately cease airing any such false advertisements and completely refrain from broadcasting their content until such time as the aforementioned defamatory statements have been removed.
Please govern your actions accordingly. We look forward to receiving your prompt reply to this correspondence and request that any questions regarding its contents be directed to my attention.
HALL, BOOTH, SMITH & SLOVER, P.C.
PATRICK N. MILLSAPS
Deputy General Counsel, Newt 2012