Free Beacon Exposes What Media Outlets Won't: Liberal Connections With ‘Unethical CREW’

February 7th, 2018 7:06 PM

When interviewing individuals from conservative and Republican organizations, most people in the “mainstream media” identify the backgrounds of those guests so they can’t be considered anything else.

However, those anchors are not quite as definitive when it comes to liberal groups that declare themselves to be “nonpartisan.”

An example of this principle in action is the group known as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which works as a “left-wing activist organization that raises money from a secretive dark money network of liberal donors,” according to an analysis posted on the Washington Free Beacon website.

This article, which was written by the Free Beacon's David Rutz and (former MRC blogger) Joe Schoffstall, described the organization as “An Unethical CREW” that “bills itself as a nonpartisan organization looking at ethics violations on both sides of the aisle.”

Nevertheless, that organization “was once led by Clinton operative David Brock and is an approved funding group of the Democracy Alliance -- which helps guide donations from wealthy liberals to anti-Republican activist organizations.”

The Free Beacon's analysis, which examined footage from November 1, 2017, to February 1 of this year, “found that Norman Eisen, the chairman of CREW” who was an ethics “czar” for Democratic former President Barack Obama, appeared on the CNN -- where he is a contributor -- and sister station HLN “at least 19 times.”

During those appearances, Eisen “was identified as leading CREW at the start of an interview just three times,” Rutz and Schoffstall stated.

While he was mainly introduced as the former Obama White House ethics "czar,"  Eisen did not make any efforts to disclose his position with CREW when anchors had failed to mention them.


The statistics are even worse when it came to CREW vice chairman Richard Painter, who is “a self-identified Republican” and “served as a White House ethics lawyer under Republican President George W. Bush.”

Rutz and Schoffstall then noted that “Painter has been a vocal Trump critic since the 2016 Republican primary.”

“Painter's political affiliation gave the organization a patina of bipartisanship as it ramped up efforts to oppose Trump in the media and in courts,” the Free Beacon authors stated.

“Painter conducted at least 68 interviews on MSNBC, CNN and HLN and was only twice introduced as part of CREW during the same time period [when] Eisen made his 19 appearances,” the analysis found.

“In nearly every other instance,” Rutz and Schoffstall noted, “he was only introduced as some variance of the former White House ethics lawyer for Bush, a position that he left nearly 11 years ago. Painter also failed to disclose his current position on air when his current title was not mentioned.”

The Free Beacon writers also indicated that “Eisen and Painter were picked to lead CREW as one of the final actions under the leadership of David Brock, who chaired the group from August 2014 to December 2016” but stepped down rather than make their organization appear too partisan as Donald Trump entered the White House.”

At the time, Brock stated:

Due to my stepped-up political activities in the American Bridge opposition research super PAC, I decided to step off CREW's board to ensure its public reputation for non-partisanship.

I'm very proud of the work CREW has accomplished during my two years on board, and its work is more relevant now than ever.

“In January 2017, just one month after leaving CREW,” Rutz and Schoffstall noted, “Brock held a donor retreat at a posh Florida resort where he huddled with more than 100 liberal donors in an effort to map out” how they would "kick Donald Trump's ass."

As part of that unsuccessful effort, CREW was to “demand ethical conduct from the administration and all parts of government, expose improper influence from powerful interests, and ensure accountability when the administration and others shirk ethical standards, rules and laws."

Brock's memo also stated that CREW would use "cutting-edge litigation" and an expanded legal team to file complaints and lawsuits."

"Already,” he continued, “top law firms and talented lawyers across the country, with specialties including civil litigation and FOIA (the Freedom of Information Act), are volunteering to help with the effort."

The document also explained that CREW would partner with reporters to "move major stories forward."

Despite the fact that this analysis exposed the leftward leanings of CREW and its officers, no word has come from any liberal cable news television channel in response. If any of these “experts” appear again, NewsBusters will be sure to report on what happens then.