As writ by a leftist of some renown himself, Joel Connelly in today's PI:
McDermott: An old joke resurfaces during House "district work periods": What's the difference between God and Jim McDermott? God is everywhere. Jim McDermott is everywhere but Seattle.
Our world-traveling congressman-for-life is sighted at home often these days. Is McDermott becoming a key player in regional transportation? Puget Sound? Salmon recovery? Hardly. He is raising money.
"I am fighting a long-running court battle against right-wing Republicans who want to punish me for contributing to the downfall of Newt Gingrich by passing on incriminating information to the media," he wrote last week.
In another missive, McDermott warned of having to pay opponents' legal fees, writing, "This will be as much as $1,000,000."
McDermott is in the eighth year of a civil lawsuit battle with GOP Rep. John Boehner of Ohio. In 1997, as ranking House Ethics Committee Democrat, McD received an illegally taped cell-phone conversation.
House Speaker Gingrich, Boehner and GOP House leaders were plotting to minimize political damage from a $300,000 penalty imposed against Gingrich by the ethics committee. Gingrich had promised not to protest the penalty.
McDermott leaked the tape to The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Boehner sued for invasion of his privacy. The case has bounced up and down the federal courts. Recently, U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan ruled for Boehner, giving him $10,000 in statutory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages. Awarding attorneys' fees was held up pending appeal.
With a loyal liberal following, McDermott has taken some liberties with the truth.
He has claimed partial credit for Gingrich's ouster as House speaker. But Gingrich was toppled by an internal Republican revolt after the GOP unexpectedly lost seats in the 1998 election.
McDermott boasts of "passing on incriminating information to the media" and positions himself as a First Amendment defender. Major news organizations are backing his appeal.
But back in '97, McD denied leaking the tape and said he knew not how the Times and Constitution laid hands on it.
He lied, and he has never explained or apologized for it.