Reporting On Political Sex Scandal Claims

American Zombie, David Vitter: Interview with Wendy Ellis, Oct. 13, published Oct. 17, 2015. The following interview segments are with former prostitute, Wendy Ellis, also known as Wendy Cortez in original stories that surfaced from Hustler magazine back in 2007.  Ellis originally came forward with allegations that she had serviced Vitter here in New Orleans during the height of the prostitution scandal involving the D.C. madame, Debra Jean Palfrey. After speaking with Ellis, she told me that the Hustler interview was not totally accurate and not only did they publish a small portion of the story, some of the facts were misconstrued. Upon meeting her, she informed me that she was terminally ill with an advanced form of lupus. She agreed to let me interview her because she wanted to "set the record straight" in the time she has left. The interview lasted about an hour. This first segment details how she first came into contact with David Vitter and how their relationship developed, one she said lasted for about three years from around 1998 through 2000:

Reporting on Political Scandal Claims

 Trey Gowdy
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Washington Post, 7 mistakes in Bill O'Reilly's book about Ronald Reagan, Craig Shirley, Kiron K. Skinner, Paul Kengor and Steven F. Hayward,Oct. 16, 2015. Here's what Bill O'Reilly's new book about Ronald Reagan, "Killing Reagan," gets wrong—according to four Reagan scholars. The book Killing Reagan by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard is supposed to be a book of new scholarship on the Reagan presidency. Instead, it restates old claims and rumors, virtually all of which have been discredited by the historical record. In this best-selling book, there are no endnotes, no bibliography, no long list of interviewees and only a smattering of footnotes. There is a section titled “Sources,” but it is only two-and-a-half pages long. It includes about two dozen sources, but that is not adequate for a subject, Ronald Reagan, who has been the focus of thousands of books and articles and who was one of the most consequential political figures of the 20th century. The works of three of us are not noted at all, and between the four of us, we have written 19 books on Reagan, not to mention countless articles. The sources section does, however, reference long-questionable works, including the sensational 1991 attack by Kitty Kelley — which is clearly incorporated throughout the book — and the 1999 biography by Edmund Morris, roundly criticized for its intermingling of fact and fiction.

There are small and large mistakes throughout Killing Reagan. Repeatedly, Ronald Prescott Reagan is referred to as “Ron Jr,” a minor matter but a revealing one. The book states that Reagan’s radio broadcasts of the late 1970s were once a week, but they were delivered five times a week. There are dozens of Kelley-type references to horoscope readers, astrologers, an imperious Nancy running the country and generally a persistent, clueless and oblivious Ronald Reagan — addle-brained, out of touch, dangerously uninformed. The most common word used to describe Reagan is probably “confused.”

A large part of the storyline refers to the erroneous contention that there was serious consideration about removing Reagan from office via the 25th Amendment after John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate him in 1981. What’s so remarkable about the 11 days Reagan spent in the hospital recovering from his wounds is that beyond the standard discussion of temporary presidential disability among some of the president’s closest aides, none of these aides or cabinet members attempted to invoke the 25th Amendment or succession laws. Former Attorney General Ed Meese, who was not interviewed for this book but who served as Reagan’s closest aide and friend for many years, was dismissive of the allegation about the 25th Amendment as utterly and completely false. We four have interviewed Meese often, and some of us have talked to him about this book and its sourcing.

It speaks volumes that none of the hundreds of former Reagan White House staffers has stepped forward to corroborate the story. Reagan’s national security adviser, Richard V. Allen, told us flatly that “Killing Reagan” is “garbage.” Allen was also there the day Reagan was shot, but again, neither O’Reilly nor Dugard spoke to him. They list only four people interviewed, including Lesley Stahl — a CBS journalist who was not a primary source and who was always extremely dismissive of Reagan’s cognitive abilities.

As far as Reagan’s mental acuity, which this book presents as nose-diving very early in his presidency, only in 1994 did Reagan’s doctors at the Mayo Clinic find evidence of Alzheimer’s, six years after he left office, and they issued a statement at the time stating such. By all accounts, the hundreds of people who interacted with Reagan on a daily basis found a bright, erudite and engaged man.

Among the most scandalizing material in the book are the early sections which show Reagan to be sexually very promiscuous, a callous cad robbing young starlets of their virginity. In the book, his sexual encounters went on not only between marriages but in the early years of his marriage to Nancy — including literally as Nancy was in labor giving birth to their daughter.

In a recent interview with the Daily Caller, O’Reilly answered questions about his sources for lurid statements about Reagan’s use of women. (The book’s publisher did not respond to a request for comment for this article.)

We double-sourced everything with names. We didn’t use any blind sources at all. And it’s all in the book, in the back of the book, where it came from. Everything is there. There really wasn’t any deniability about it. You know, Nancy mentioned it to friends. Friends wrote about it. Friends put their names on it.

But there is no citation in the back of the book. If the source for that section is in the back of the book, then it could be Kitty Kelley, because these are the kind of claims she has made. The book itself does not make the source clear. This kind of shocking material must be clearly sourced.

Marie Claire, A Blogger Claimed I Had an Affair with My Boss—and I Sued Him for $3.5 Million, Jessica Garrison, as told to Liz Welch, Oct. 15, 2015. Republican campaign manager Jessica Garrison found herself in the crosshairs of a liberal blogger with an agenda. This is her story of fighting back. My saga started in July 2013. A friend texted me, asking, "Do you know this guy, Roger Shuler?" I didn't, but quickly learned he was the political blogger behind the website Legal Schnauzer and author of a new post that would forever change my life: "AG Luther Strange Has a Messy Extra-Marital Affair with Ex-Campaign Aide Jessica Garrison."

That was my name in a headline, alleging I had had an affair with my friend and former boss, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. (I managed his 2010 campaign.) I was shocked—it was usually the politicians whose names were dragged through the mud, not mine. Honestly, it was so ludicrous that I did something like a proverbial shoulder shrug and tried to move on. And thankfully everyone who knows me knew it wasn't true, including my former boss's wife, Melissa—we wound up in tears on the phone together wondering why someone would make up such horrible things.

By then, I was a Executive Director at RAGA, the Republican Attorney General's Association, in Washington, D.C. My job was to meet with corporations to promote working with Attorney Generals. One day, I went to a meeting with the Government Affairs director at Apple at a restaurant in Cupertino, California. When I arrived, he said, "I looked you up online so I could recognize you." My heart stopped beating. All I could think throughout the meeting was, 'This man thinks I slept with the Attorney General of Alabama.'

When Shuler was served with the papers from my attorney, he was already in jail for another defamation case. (Robert Riley, a lobbyist, sued Shuler for alleging he'd had an affair with lobbyist Liberty Duke.) When we met in court for a preliminary hearing, Shuler came in wearing an orange jumpsuit. He sat directly across from me, but never looked at me. He didn't seem to care that his lies could have destroyed my personal and professional life. I can only assume that his goal was to damage Luther politically, and that he thought using a woman who worked closely with the AG was the best way to do that. He didn't realize that he'd bitten off more than he could chew.

Dennis Hastert C-SPAN

Former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert, sharing his views on C-SPAN pre-indictment

Politico, Denny Hastert's dilemma, A guilty plea offers his best hope of silencing 30 years of rumors. Josh Gerstein, For Dennis Hastert, it could be the easy way out. A federal court deadline Tuesday will be a pivotal turning point in his felony case, signaling whether the former House speaker will plead guilty to a deal that has been under negotiation since at least late September with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Henry Vinson "Confessions of a DC Madam" coverChicago. A plea deal would give Hastert his best hope of averting a full public reckoning of allegations and rumors about his alleged misconduct as a teacher and coach, stories that Politico found have circulated for decades in political circles in and around Yorkville, Illinois. In interviews with numerous Hastert associates, Politico found that at least some of Hastert's allies were aware of rumors emanating from Yorkville High School as Hastert began his political career after many years as a popular teacher and coach, and no one apparently took action to address them. The findings shed new light on what was known about Hastert’s behavior long before a May 28 indictment spelled out an alleged secretive effort to pay $3.5 million to an anonymous “Individual A” for “past misconduct."

The Hill, Shock! McCarthy drops from Speaker's race, Scott Wong, Oct. 8, 2015. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has dropped out of the race for House Speaker, shocking Capitol Hill and raising Kevin McCarthyquestions about who can lead the House Republican Conference. Republicans were to meet Thursday at noon to elect a new Speaker, following Rep. John Boehner's news that he would retire at the end of the month. Instead, they received the surprising news from McCarthy, shown in a file photo. "I think I shocked some of you," McCarthy joked to reporters after his bombshell. He said he would stay on as majority leader, but believed Republicans needed to unify around a "new face." "I feel good about the decision. I think we're only going to be stronger," he said. McCarthy suggested it was unclear whether he could have won the 218 votes on the floor needed to be elected Speaker.

Mediaite, Government IP Address Edits Wikipedia To Accuse Kevin McCarthy of Affair, Alex Griswold, Oct. 8, 2015. The Wikipedia page of a North Carolina Republican Congresswoman was edited by a federal government IP address to accuse her of having an affair with Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Huffington Post, Kevin McCarthy's Exit Came After Personal Threat Over Affair Allegations; "Why not resign like Bob Livingston?” Michael Calderone, Oct. 8, 2015.


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