The New York Times reported Democratic NY state assemblyman Brian McLaughlin pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges on Friday. As usual, no party identification in the headline, picture, caption or article, but there's a twist in this March 8 piece. The NYT also didn't report that he was in office at the time the crimes were committed.
In the lede, the Times described McLaughlin as the “former head of the nation’s biggest municipal labor council,” without noting his political office.
Continuing the whitewash, the NYT buried and downplayed the story's juicy details. While in office, McLaughlin stole a total of $2.2 million from little leaguers, labor unions, his political club and the state of New York. He used the funds to buy cars for his wife and mistress and, bizarrely, forced union members to kill rats in his basement, dog sit and hang Christmas lights without pay. The only mention of the Dem's political career was an unclear second paragraph (all bold mine):
Standing and facing the judge as he spoke, the defendant, Brian M. McLaughlin, once a seven-term assemblyman from Queens and the leader of a million workers as president of the New York City Central Labor Council, delivered his 45-minute catalog of wrongs in a tone that at times seemed blasé and at other times abjectly cooperative.
The NYT made it seem that the Dem's time in politics was in the past. The paper didn't report McLaughlin used his office for personal gain or connect it to a string of crimes committed by several members of the Democratic majority in the NY state assembly. There must not be a Democratic “culture of corruption.”
This doesn't have to do with the article, but how can a NY state assemblyman, especially one on the influential Ways and Means Committee, which allocates funds for state projects, also be the president of NYC's Central Labor Council, the largest municipal labor union in America? Isn't that asking for corruption?
What should have been the meat of the article was sketchily buried at the bottom of the 22 paragraph article:
He said he had siphoned money for personal purposes from the William Jefferson Clinton Democratic Club in Queens; solicited the use of automobiles from companies that employed union members; and asked members to perform “favors, errands” and household chores for him, like hanging Christmas lights.
And he had lied on a mortgage application, saying that he was renting his house to a union officer, he said.
The assistant United States attorney on the case, Daniel A. Braun, told the judge that Mr. McLaughlin, who remained free Friday on $250,000 bail, could have to forfeit up to $2.2 million in illicit proceeds, as well as his Long Island home and a car that was paid for with $60,000 in kickbacks from a company that used union members as unpaid labor.
The amazingly bland article whitewashed the corrupt actions of a powerful man who exploited children, non-profits and his own union members for personal gain (and to have a rat-free home with awesome Christmas decorations).
I look forward to similar coverage of the next Republican who gets in trouble.
Lynn contributes to NewsBusters and can be reached at tvisgoodforyou2-a t—y a h o o—d o t—c o m