Michele Bachmann Tells a Slanderous Lie about Speaker Pelosi at ‘Values’ Conclave

As lying politicians go, few can top Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann. But she outdid herself on Friday — in front of an annual meeting sponsored by a Christian-oriented hate group, no less — when she claimed that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had spent $100,000 of taxpayer money on booze.

At the Values Voter Conference, sponsored by the anti-gay activist group Family Research Council, in Washington, Bachmann took the podium and made this outrageous statement:

BACHMANN: “Unlimited credit cards for our elected leaders have become an in entitlement. like Speaker Pelosi, who has been busy sticking the taxpayer with her $100,000 bar tab for alcohol on the military jets that she’s flying.”

Facts sourced below but here are the basics:

  • Pelosi does not drink. (Bachmann have confused Pelosi with Republican Speaker Wanna-Be John Boehner who is famous in the capital for doing nothing but boozing, schmoozing and playing golf with lobbyists.)
  • Bachmann’s lie is based on propaganda from two right-wing outlets with zero credibility, Judicial Watch and World Net Daily.
  • The original “research” looked at expenses official government trips called “congressional delegations” or CODELs, in which members of Congress go on fact-finding tours and inspections.
  • Judicial Watch deceptively did not compare Pelosi’s spending with her predecessor’s. Speaker Hastert’s spending was slightly higher.

The source of this slander is Judicial Watch, right-wing political group posing as a “watch dog” that spent the 1990s lodging bogus lawsuits against Pres. and Mrs. Clinton — its founder, Larry Klayman, is so litigious that, in 1998, he even sued his own mother.

The Judicial Watch “findings” were then printed in the right-wing propaganda outlet, WorldNetDaily, which is published by Joseph Farah one of the most prominent Birthers in the country and one of the last diehard promoters of the theory that Vince Foster was murdered by Sec. of State Hillary Clinton when she was first lady. Farah was last heard from in February when he was verbally assaulted outside tea bagger convention in Nashve by racist “new media” provocateur Andrew Breitbart. Farah had enraged Breitbart by giving a speech to the tea bagger event promoting his belief that Pres. Obama is not an American citizen.

More recently, Farah’s WorldNetDaily has published a book listing the various charges Republicans plan to use in their impeachment of Pres. Obama after they take control of Congress in November, including, for example, the charge that pop stars Beyonce and Jay-Z were allowed to visit the White House Situation Room. (Compare this with the fact that Speaker Pelosi took impeachment of Bush and Cheney “off the table” even though they deliberately outed a covert CIA spy operation tracking black market sales of weapons of mass destruction and personally approved turning the United States into a torture state, among other charges.)

What’s particularly galling about this is the fact that right-wingers rail about accountability and taking responsibility for one’s actions. It’s obvious that they mean that liberals should be held accountable and take responsibility, because they never apply these high-minded principles to themselves. (See, for example, CIA spy buster Dick Cheney, serial adulterer Newt Gingrich, ethics-challenged Sarah Palin and Christian adulterers still in office Gov. Mark Sanford and Sens. David Vitter and John Ensign.)

What’s worse is that no one else holds them accountable either. In this particular instance, even if Bachmann’s slander about the speaker were to become a big story in the legitimate media — which, trust me, it won’t — tea baggers and other Republicans won’t ever know the truth because they only watch the GOP-Fox propaganda channel and the like.

Edited Transcript from the MSNBC Countdown video snippet above:

…And there was Michele Bachmann after fielding criticism from [Tarryl Clark, Bachmann’s Democratic opponent] electing to pull her name from the presidential straw poll. Her speech however was not polled by anyone or anything.

BACHMANN: “Unlimited credit cards for our elected leaders have become an in entitlement. like Speaker Pelosi, who has been busy sticking the taxpayer with her $100,000 bar tab for alcohol on the military jets that she’s flying.”

The speaker’s office today responding to that, quote, Speaker Pelosi does not drink alcohol. There is no alcohol service on the domestic flights the Air Force operates for travel from Washington to San Francisco for the speaker.

The nonpartisan group Factcheck.org looked into the “research” by Judicial Watch. Here is part of what they found:

Q: Has Nancy Pelosi spent $100,000 on food, booze and “partying” during her air travel?

A: No. Pelosi’s congressional delegations do eat well and drink pricey alcohol. But the costs are not as high as critics claim, and they’re comparable to those of her Republican predecessor, Dennis Hastert.

Specifics from Factcheck.org:

  • Claim: Pelosi spent over $100,000 on food and alcohol.
    Fact: Her delegations did spend that amount, but not just on food and booze. (And Pelosi doesn’t drink.)

    WorldNetDaily said that Pelosi spent more than $100,000 for "food [and] booze." That’s false. The total includes expenses other than "food and booze," though it’s certainly true that international CODELs routinely show receipts for hundreds of dollars worth of top-shelf alcohol — brands like Maker’s Mark, Courvoisier, Grey Goose and Bombay Sapphire. Pelosi herself does not drink alcohol, her staff told us, but she’s not the only member of Congress on these trips. The ones who do drink are well-supplied.

    The documents also show receipts for hundreds of dollars in food purchases, often from the bulk store Sam’s Club or from the Andrews Air Force Base commissary. (It’s worth noting that, according to Pelosi’s staff, food and beverages left over after a trip are stored for future travel.) Snack items usually include cereals, fruit, chips and candy. Most of the CODELs in Judicial Watch’s sheaf of documents do not provide itemized receipts for the food used to make in-flight meals, but the one that does (a Pelosi CODEL from February 2009) lists provisions including tilapia, lasagna and fancy cakes.

    Judicial Watch calculated that Pelosi’s CODELs spent precisely $101,429.14 over two years for what it calls “in-flight expenses." We asked Judicial Watch for an explanation of its accounting, and the group sent us a spreadsheet that covered three of the nine Pelosi CODELs represented in its documents, plus 47 speaker shuttles to and from Pelosi’s home district. From the three CODELs it covers, it’s clear that Judicial Watch is counting as “in-flight expenses” any non-reimbursable Air Force expenditure besides transportation costs. That category actually includes all non-plane costs of the trip, including baggage fees, meeting room rentals and refreshments, and, frequently, good-will lapel pins — as well as meals, ground transportation and lodging in U.S. territory.

  • Claim: Pelosi’s use of military funds constitutes a “scandal.”
    Fact: Whether or not Pelosi’s CODEL spending is considered outrageous, it tracks with spending for Hastert’s delegations.

    Judicial Watch is calling this “Pelosi’s Air Force Scandal.” The group may well feel scandalized, but the truth is that Hastert’s spending was much the same — a fact Judicial Watch overlooked. We did our own apples-to-apples comparison, leaving out speaker shuttles (which are not congressional delegations) and counting all of the CODELs in Judicial Watch’s documents. By our count, the nine Pelosi CODELs represented in the documents spent about $110,000, after the Air Force was reimbursed for expenditures for which it wasn’t responsible (such as overseas meals and lodging and spouses’ expenses). The eight Hastert CODELs spent about $73,000. The costs per official participant were remarkably similar — about $310 for Pelosi CODELs and $302 for Hastert CODELs. Counting in the cost of military air travel, the nine Pelosi CODELs cost $2.4 million. The eight Hastert CODELs cost $2.7 million, not including the air travel costs for one trip, which were not available.

    The liquor receipts for Pelosi and Hastert CODELs also are markedly similar. There’s some variation in particular brands — we never saw a Hastert CODEL stock Starbucks coffee liqueur, as Pelosi’s April 2007 trip did. But international CODELs routinely show receipts for hundreds of dollars worth of top-shelf alcohol, as well as beer and wine…

  • Claim: Pelosi led 103 congressional delegations, and brought her family on 31 of them.
    Fact: Pelosi has been on 12 international CODELs and a “handful” of domestic ones, not 103. Judicial Watch also gives data for about 60 shuttles back to her home district in California, of which family members traveled on 21.


  • Allen Stevens
    September 18, 2010 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

    When is someone going to sue the hell out of these people for slander? It is time to stop all the lies and devisiveness these mentally deranged people are spewing. This woman even looks crazy, and when she opens her toxic mouth, it just confirms the notion. Come on Dems, get even with these no good liers sue the hell out of them, make them homeless so they can get a taste of how it is on the street, cause they have NOOOOO idea!!!!

  • Nikolai
    September 18, 2010 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Ditto to what Allen said, especially about Bachmann being crazy. She looks and seems like she’s completely off her rocker.. or her meds…

  • Ray
    September 19, 2010 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    unfortunately politicians are not able to be sued for slander or lying. unless under oath. Could you imaging how backed up our courts would be if we could sue politicians for failed campaign promises and out right lies.

  • Dave
    September 19, 2010 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    What else would you expect from the Whore of Babylon! the Bible tells of these kind of people not that I believe in it. But in the last days there will be False Prophets say like the born again (Dry Drunk Drug Addict with a Messianic complex)Glen Beck and there is nothing more dangerous if you don’t thinks so just remember George W Bush!

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