In a truly dismaying development for the three remaining believers in the spirit of bipartisan compromise, House Republicans walked away Thursday from a deal that would have kept opposition research obtained by hacking out of ads for this year's midterms. The Republicans insisted it was actually all the Democrats' fault for having "leaked information on the negotiations" to the press, if you can call a mildly optimistic on-the-record statement that a deal seemed close a "leak." Darn those sneaky Democrats! Now the Rs will have no choice but to use hacked materials, like they already have.

The New York Times reports the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) had seemed close to an agreement, but were still wrangling over whether campaign ads could make use of

hacked or stolen material that entered the public domain through news or other sources. Republicans argued that such material had to be fair game and that to ask candidates not to seize on news reports was unnecessarily prohibitive. Democrats countered that any agreement would be toothless without such a provision.

That would be a pretty good loophole, really -- if you had some hacked or stolen dirt from an opponent's campaign, you could hand it off to a friendly "reporter" for Breitbart or the Daily Caller, and voila! A legitimate news source reported on it, so it's fair game -- just like how Dick Cheney leaked stuff to Judith Miller, then cited the resulting story to prove Iraq needed invading.

Can't imagine why Dems would be suspicious of that tactic! Once the deal fell apart, a source told the Times the draft's most recent version included a line requiring both campaign committees to

pledge that they would not "use known stolen or hacked information, or promote or disseminate hacked materials to the press, regardless of the source[.]"

As for the Republicans, they just HAD TO withdraw from the discussions, because the Dems violated the sanctity of The Process. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, the chair of the Democratic committee, went and revealed important state secrets to the Wall Street Journal Tuesday when he said an agreement was "close." THAT WAS TELLING! said Republican committee spokesperson Matt Gorman, so the whole deal's off:

Negotiations are about trust. Once that trust is breached, there is simply no way to reach an agreement [...] We don't need a pledge to do what we planned to do already. And we're certainly not going to be a pawn in someone's publicity stunt.

Darn ol' Democrats, talking in the open about SECRETS. And also completely ignoring that the NRCC committee chair Steve Stivers of Ohio blabbed about the existence of the negotiations back in June -- and even on the particulars of that sticking point over material from press reports, explaining at a media conference, "I'm not going to run down one of my candidates for using something in the public domain."

Obviously, that was OK, but this week, Luján said something far less specific, and destroyed all trust. For shame, sir.

Still at least both sides are individually saying now they definitely won't use hacked or stolen materials in campaign ads, unless of course it's something really juicy against a Democrat, like some NRCC ads run in 2016 using DNC emails stolen by Russian hackers. Oh, sure, some might get the impression that Republicans use stolen stuff all the damn time, forever, but that can't be true in every single case, can it?

Honestly, won't happen again. If you can't trust a Republican saying "Trust Me," then what a sad cynical world this has become.

[NYT / Politico / WSJ]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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