All three morning shows on Wednesday failed to cover a front page Washington Times story asserting that Senator Joe Biden has paid over $2 million in campaign money to family members and their businesses. Washington Times reporter Jim McElhatton wrote in the October 15 edition of the paper that "the money largely flowed from the coffers of Mr. Biden's failed presidential campaign during the past two years to a company that employs his sister and longtime campaign manager and longtime campaign manager Valerie Biden Owens, according to campaign disclosure filings."
The current Democratic vice presidential candidate also "directed campaign legal work to a Washington lobbying and law firm founded by his son R. Hunter Biden, the disclosures show." CBS's "Early Show," NBC's "Today" and "Good Morning America" all skipped the report. And although GMA found no time to highlight Biden's activities (which are legal, but have been harshly criticized by groups such as Public Citizen), the program did manage to devote a full segment to a 106-year-old nun who will be voting for Senator Barack Obama.
Citing a new report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, McElhatton noted that "other Biden campaign cash paid reimbursement expenses for his sister, his wife, two of his sons, his brother and the senator." The Washington Times article went on to add:
Elected officials can hire family members for their campaigns at fair market value rates, but they are not allowed to convert campaign donations to "personal use" or hire family for their official congressional offices. Some observers say having family members on the campaign payroll blurs the lines of what's permissible.
"Technically, it's legal, but frankly, it doesn't pass the smell test," said Bruce Buchanan, a professor of government and presidential politics at the University of Texas at Austin. "That's why all the public interest groups flag it and report it. It feeds the public perception that politicians are ethically challenged."
See the Washington Times for the full article.
On October 10, the morning shows similarly ignored a Times report on allegations that Obama attempted to delay an agreement by the Bush administration to maintain a military presence in Iraq.