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Public Statements

Setting The Record Straight

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I recently got some first-hand experience with the way in which the right-wing propaganda machine operates. The pattern appears to be to begin with a lie and then have that lie multiplied through an echo chamber that repeats it and repeats it.

In this case, a man named John Fund, who is an editorial writer at the Wall Street Journal, one of the most right-wing of our publications these days, on the editorial page just told a lie about me in November of last year. He gave a speech at Restoration Weekend. I don't know what they were restoring, but it certainly wasn't respect for the truth. And he said, ``Democrats were very rattled by the November 3 election results. What do liberals do when they lose elections? They change the rules. In January, CHUCK SCHUMER and BARNEY FRANK will propose universal voter registration.'' ``There'll be felon reenfranchisement too.'' ``The Feds will tell the States, `Take everyone on every list of welfare recipients you have, take everyone on every list of unemployed you have.' ''

It's a lie. He made it up. It's not even a misinterpretation. It's not a quote taken out of context. It is a total myth. There is no such bill. There wasn't in November. Then right-wing echo chamber picks it up. The Washington Times, the voice of the Reverend Moon, says, SCHUMER and FRANK ``have plans to ram through legislation that will produce universal voter registration.'' And they say it will be on the floor of the House in 2 weeks. It's the lie repeated. Glenn Beck joined in. Rush Limbaugh joined in.

This begins with a totally fictional accusation by John Fund with no basis whatsoever. It is then repeated by Glenn Beck and repeated by the Washington Times and repeated by Rush Limbaugh. None of them have checked what we were talking about, none of them seeing if it was accurate.

I was asked by a constituent why I had done that. My response was, Done what? I didn't do it. So I checked into it, and I found that the source of this was Mr. Fund's totally irresponsible myth in November. So I wrote to Mr. Fund--and I put this letter in there--and said, I was puzzled to hear you say this. I checked. I now write to tell you that you are entirely wrong in your assertion about me, and in the absence of your being able to show any basis on which you made such a statement, to ask you to acknowledge that fact.

He is not only a liar; he is a coward. He wouldn't do it. My staff member, Mr. Gural, asked him, called him up and said, Well, what was this based on? He said, Oh, I made a mistake. Well, have you issued a retraction? Mr. Gural asked him. Oh, yeah, he said. Can we see a copy? Mr. Gural reasonably asked. Oh, I told a couple of people.

So here we are. Mr. Fund makes it up. It's a lie. It's a myth. There was nothing there. And it's to discredit all Democrats. His right-wing cohorts then echo it and echo it. The next thing you know, it's going to be coming on the floor in the House in 2 weeks. People hear it, and it's all over the blogs. This is the Democrats' disregard for the electoral process. And when we call Mr. Fund's attention to the fact that this was a lie, what does he say? Whoops. But he's not going to tell anybody about it.

Mr. Speaker, this is not the only case of this. And I know this has happened before; but because I was directly involved here, I am in a position to document this. It begins with a lie from this editorial writer from the Wall Street Journal. It is then a lie repeated by all of his right-wing colleagues. And then when he is nailed in the lie, he simply blithely refuses to do anything about it.

I hope people will take from this the lesson to be very skeptical when these right-wing propagandas--Limbaugh or Beck or the Washington Times or the Wall Street Journal editorial board--propagate these vicious smears.

[From the Washington Times, Jan. 7, 2010]

Editorial: Letting Crooks & Illegals Vote

Democrats have a political death wish. At least that's how it looks. There's no other explanation for their feverish push to take over the health care system when a huge majority of Americans are opposed to the plan. But facing an angry public, Democrats are scheming to find ways to manipulate the electoral process so they can cling to power even when voters want to kick the bums out.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, have plans to ram through legislation that will produce universal voter registration. No matter what they claim, the rule changes will make it possible for illegal aliens to register to vote and for others to register multiple times.

The proposal is to register everyone on every welfare list, everyone getting unemployment insurance, everyone with a driver's license, everyone who has had run-ins with the legal system, everyone owning any property--basically everyone on every list the government keeps. People will be registered to vote whether or not they want to be registered. If individuals are on any public record, they will be automatically registered.

Obviously a lot of illegal aliens have driver's licenses, and many get other government benefits. Quite a few have rap sheets. People's names and other identification information are frequently recorded differently across these different lists, which means that one could be registered a separate time for every slight variation in how their personal information is kept on file.

The legislation is also expected to give felons the right to vote. Why Democrats insist on letting someone who has raped multiple women vote on social policy is beyond us. According to Democrats, robbers who have preyed on helpless victims--and even murderers--have the judgment to tell us how law enforcement should be run in this country.

In May 2005, Public Opinion Strategies surveyed felons who had their voting rights restored and nonfelons who voted in Washington state. Even after accounting for the voters' race, gender, education level, religious habits, employment, age and county of residence, the book Freedomnomics found that ``felons were 36 percent more likely than nonfelons with the same characteristics to have voted for [John] Kerry [a Democrat] over [George W.] Bush [a Republican] and 37 percent more likely to be registered Democratic.''

For years, Democrats have fought against requiring photo IDs at polling places. The practice, which is simply a way to make sure voters are who they say they are, is used in about 100 other countries. Mexico, for example, has cracked down on voter fraud and is strict about requiring photo identification to vote. If Democrats have their way, it will be easier for Mexicans to vote in America than in their own country.

It speaks volumes about Democratic unpopularity that they have to look to criminals and illegal aliens to try to shore up their voting base.



Washington, DC, January 13, 2010.
The Wall Street Journal,
New York, NY.

DEAR MR. FUND: I was puzzled during the last couple of weeks to be asked why I was supporting something called ``universal voter registration,'' which supposedly would allow all sorts of undesirable people to register to vote. I was puzzled because I have had absolutely no involvement in such a proposal.

I asked my staff to check the source of the rumor, and we discovered that it is you. Apparently last fall, you invented a story that Senator SCHUMER and I planned to introduce such legislation. I've since learned that Senator SCHUMER is working on legislation regarding voting, but I am told that it does not remotely resemble your version of it. But more importantly to me is that I have had no involvement with this whatsoever, with Senator SCHUMER or anybody else.

You simply made this up with regard to me. I must tell you that I was not surprised, because this sort of fictionalized attack on political opponents has sadly become characteristic of many on the right. And once you lied about me in this regard, several of your right-wing colleagues in the media, including Rush -Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the Washington Times, repeated it.

I should note that, again not surprisingly, you made no effort to check with me or anybody who works with me to find out if what you said was true. You made your assertion with no factual basis and without any effort to verify it. To me, that qualifies as a lie.

So I now write not simply to tell you that you are entirely wrong in your assertion about me but, in the absence of your being able to show any basis on which you made such a statement, to ask that you acknowledge that fact.

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