February 8, 2010

InvestigateWest adds its reporting muscle to national report on Super Bowl perks for Congress

Print More

rita_hibbardwebInvestigateWest added its reporting muscle to ProPublica, the investigative reporting organization based in New York, for a report detailing which members of Congress benefited from their status as high-ranking public officials to obtain sought-after tickets to yesterday’s Super Bowl.

As ProPublica found, with the help of InvestigateWest, many other media organizations and citizen journalists around the country, interest cooled, perhaps after it became known that media attention was focused on this sometime perk of public office. Or perhaps a record snowstorm had something to do with it.

Was it the two feet of snow that blanketed Washington during the days leading up to the Super Bowl? Or was it the unintended consequence of our Super Bowl Blitz [1], a two-week telephone survey that ProPublica conducted with the help of its readers, trying to find out which members of Congress would be attending this year’s big game?

In any case, at least two Super Bowl fundraising events scheduled by members of Congress were scrubbed at the last minute or moved to undisclosed locations. Invitations to those parties, which had been circulated two or more weeks before the game, promised Super Bowl tickets to contributors who gave either of the lawmakers $5,000.

InvestigateWest’s Daniel Lathrop phoned Washington’s congressional delegation, to find out they were not intending to go, most likely even before the ProPublica began to focus the attention on the fundraising events. None of the state’s delegation had gone to the national football championship event in recent years, except for former University of Washington linebacker Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton, who attended in 2006,  the year the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers .

But we’re happy to join in ProPublica’s effort to help keep politicians aware that their constituents are aware of who pays for the perks of office.

You can read the full story here.

— Rita Hibbard.

Comments are closed.