White House press secretary Robert Gibbs this morning tweeted to his 93,000-plus followers on twitter a New York Times story detailing ties House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has with lobbyists that the Times characterizes as seeming “especially deep.”
The press secretary then used the story to discuss an incident 14 years ago when Boehner, then the 4th-ranking House Republican, “was caught handing out checks from tobacco lobbyists to fellow Republicans on the House floor,” as the Times recalls.
“Story on Boehner covers some of his greatest hits – handing out checks from lobbyists on the House floor,” Gibbs wrote providing a link to an AP story on the subject from 1996.
Gibbs then quoted Boehner in that 14-year-old story recounting how two House freshmen “were appalled by it. I thought, `Yeah, I can imagine why somebody would be upset. It sure doesn't look good.'”
Boehner’s office has called the Times story a “hatchet job,” and as detailed by Examiner reporter Byron York, has noted that the newspaper changed an account from an anonymous lobbyist from saying he “won” Boehner’s support on a number of issues to a version where the lobbyist “sought” Boehner’s support and “Mr. Boehner’s office said these were positions he already agreed with.”
Gibbs did not tweet about a different New York Times story about lobbyists from earlier this year detailing how administration officials may be skirting White House disclosure rules by meeting with lobbyists off White House grounds, prompting a call by the left-leaning good-government group CREW for an investigation.