The Commonwealth Foundation is not just a "government watchdog group"

Over the weekend, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran an in-depth story about Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett's investigation into bonuses given to some staffers by Pa. House Democrats. As I wrote last week, Corbett (who is a Republican) seems strangely uninterested in similar activities on the GOP side of the aisle. The Post-Gazette article is problematic in many ways, but here is the bit that really concerns me:

"The evidence seems to support the claims that tax money is being used to fund campaign work for incumbents," said Matt Brouillette, president of the government watchdog group Commonwealth Foundation.

I have no idea if the allegations against the Democratic leadership are true. However, I do know that the Commonwealth Foundation is not a "government watchdog group." It is the Pennsylvania version of the Heritage Foundation-- a constant source of right-wing propaganda and misinformation. In the last few months, they have led the opposition to funding for mass transit, expanding healthcare coverage, and legislation designed to protect the rights of workers to organize. All of these positions can be found by looking at their website. Frankly, identifying an organization like the Commonwealth Foundation as simply a "government watchdog group" is bad journalism at best and completely disingenuous at worst.

There will be ongoing coverage of Corbett's investigation into Pa. House Democrats. If there were any laws broken, then those responsible should be prosecuted. However, the media must keep this investigation in context. It is primarily a political stunt undertaken by Republicans to weaken the ability of Democrats to maintain control of the Pa. House of Representatives in the 2008 election. We've got to keep an eye on journalists who cover Harrisburg to make sure they are telling the entire story.

Good post, Ben.

Good post, Ben.

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