Lou Has His Paper Trail Now, What Will He Do With It?

by lewwaters

Ever since the sudden unannounced quitting of his office by former Rep. Jim Jacks and the immediate clampdown on any information, the extreme lack of transparency if you will, I have smelled a cover-up.

I’m not the only one, either. Blogs, Washington State Wire, an NPR radio correspondent, all have sought the story of the ‘why’ of this abrupt quitting on constituents.

The Columbian’s editor, Lou Brancaccio made it a point to claim there was no paper trail to follow as they did back in 2007 with former Republican Reps. Richard Curtis and Jim Dunn.

In a rare instance of direct engagement with a commenter on their website, Lou and I went back and forth on the disparity I see in coverage of the Jacks incident and earlier ones.

Lou said,

“You’re stuck on the wrong side of this one Lew. We ask questions all the time. Guess what we don’t always get answers. When you’re dealing with stuff like this unless there’s a paper trail or unless the guy talks or unless someone who has been impacted talks, you ain’t got nuttin’ except speculation had rumor, something that’s OK for you and commenters to deal with, but not OK for a real journalist to deal with.”

In a subsequent column, Lou trying to spank me said,

“Conservative blogger Lew Waters was determined to show some sort of double standard by The Columbian when it comes to politicians doing stupid stuff.”

“So Waters drags up a name from the past: former Republican state Rep. Richard Curtis.”

“Back in 2007, it was revealed that he dressed up in women’s clothing, had sex with some guy while he was on a business trip and … well, you get the picture. Eventually Curtis says his sex partner tried to shake him down, so he went to the police.”

“We reported all this, of course. And Waters essentially says ‘Hey, you did all this gunk on Curtis, dig up some gunk on Jacks’.”

“One small problem. There was a huge paper trail to support our stories on Curtis. There is no paper trail — not yet, at least — on anything untoward about Jacks’ sudden resignation.”

In reply to another commenter on that column, Lou Brancaccio stated,

“My point — and message to Jacks — is that there will be those, including The Columbian, that will continue to pursue this issue until some answers are found. But we’re not going to report rumors. We need some facts, whether they come from a paper trail or a trusted source.”

Lou says they need a paper trail or trusted source to pursue the story. Fair enough, but past efforts at obtaining public documents have been futile as Democratic Party Leadership in Olympia have rebuffed and rejected efforts at any public documents that might exist.

The Columbian did sort of provide a breakthrough this past weekend with two columns by Brancaccio and his “interview” with Jim Jacks admitting to being an alcoholic, here and here.

Jacks claims he has done nothing wrong to anyone and just realized all of a sudden, sort of an epiphany moment, that he needed treatment. So, he faxed a handwritten letter of resignation from Hood River, Oregon, party leadership scrubbed his name from the roster, closed his office and staff and whatever funds he had left over from his campaign were transferred to the Democratic Caucus, but 2 days before he sent the letter of resignation.

As always happens in such cases, rumors began to fly as to the why. Alcoholism was stated early on making this weekend’s columns no great revelation. Lou tells us of Jacks having an epiphany and,

“So on March 25, a typically cool, showery, dreary day, Jacks resigned from his Democratic House seat. He then got into the passenger seat of his car and had his wife Brenda drive him to rehab.”

Doesn’t Lou see that this claim isn’t completely up front? How could it be with what transpired two days in advance and Jacks faxing his letter of resignation from Hood River, Oregon on the morning of March 25?

How can it be that a journalist in Olympia says,

“So I’ve been pursuing the “records” route up here, and doing all the things we press-guys can do to dynamite the blockade. If all rumors are true (and in Olympia they are true 95 percent of the time, and it’s just a matter of confirming them) the House leadership acted inappropriately to a serious situation. And I think this is the real reason the leaders have been saying nothing,”

and Lou appears unaware of any of it?

Lou has cracked the ‘cone of silence’ that was put in place even before the media was informed of Jacks quitting and he has created the beginning of a “paper trail or a trusted source” beginning to speak with the admission of alcoholism, even though we already knew that. Will he pursue it as journalists in Olympia are and dig out the background of whatever caused the epiphany Jacks experienced?

In his November 3, 2007 column, “Press Talk: Why is the Curtis saga a news story?” Lou wrote, in what I assume to have been an analogy,

“What one does in his or her private life should be private as long as it doesn’t adversely impact one’s job. For example, if you like to drink a little in your private life, is that the public’s business? I would argue no. But if you drink in your private life and you come to work drunk, what will happen? Well you have now made your private life public.”
And all bets are off.” (emphasis added)

Publicly informing Lou that I’m not buying this whitewash as the end of the story, I posted the old Abraham Lincoln quote, “ You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

Apparently taking exception to that, Lou commented, quoting a portion of one of my blog posts,

“So even after we reported what we reported — which many folks were critical of us doing — I take it you’re saying we’re still covering up the story? And it’s pretty much on par with the Watergate cover-up?”

“OK, if you say so.”

Now is Lou’s opportunity to actually show “We Try Not To Be Anybody’s Friend Or Anybody’s Enemy” as he wrote the day after Jacks quitting was announced.

In letting a journalist in Olympia know about Lou’s announced Sunday column, I received the comment, “This is most assuredly NOT a simple case of an alcoholic legislator. And if the follow-up story portrays it that way, it’s missing the boat.”

If others in the media can see that, why doesn’t the Columbian?

6 Comments to “Lou Has His Paper Trail Now, What Will He Do With It?”

  1. To me the issue is this: Brancaccio is so blinded by his leftist biases he doesn’t even begin to realize they exist… facts to the contrary.

    There can be no doubt that the true test here is this: if the person in question had an “R” after their name… does ANYONE believe that Brancaccio would have handled it this way… waited as long… or softballed as much?

    Of course not. Brancaccio’s efforts at character assassination against those who oppose his agenda or those he takes a personal dislike to (Myself, Van Nortwick, Boger) means we’re all subject to being ravaged by Brancaccio the Hun, who will take no prisoners in his effort to destroy those, belittle those and degrade those he sees as targets.

    If Jacks had an R after his name, Brancaccio would have gutted him by now. Brancaccio’s outrage at the total cover up and lack of transparency by legislative leadership would have known no bounds.

    Where’s his outrage? Where’s his demand that the legislature be forthcoming? Did they get a permanent pass because last year the newspaper got a huge B&O tax cut while every other business’s went up, like mine, by 20%?

    Bias, Lou. It’s what’s for dinner. And imagine how awful you’re personally going to look when someone else gets the story… a story that you will find bears a remarkable resemblance to what I reported a month ago, even though Brancaccio took credit for it.

    Which, come to think of it, is par for his particular course.


  2. Lou Brancaccio is a typical elitist, KJ. He never questions his own opinions. To him, they’re “always right” and he can do no “wrong”.

    The hallmark of an elitist is blind arrogance.


  3. It’s May Day Lew.

    The Columbian is running an article: “Horrified husband finds himself in rodeo queen’s saga – Weeks with Rushworth leave man feeling bamboozled”.

    After all of the “preaching” that Lou Brancaccio has done about commenting with “rumor” and “speculation” about the Jim Jacks resignation, The Columbian then STOOPS to that level of “rumor” and “speculation” to publish a soap-opera article about the “Rodeo Queen” and her husband FULL of unverified “speculation” and “information” provided by the husband of the “Rodeo Queen”.

    I guess it’s “ok” to trash some woman or any Republican, but not “ok” to “speculate” about some slimy Democrat “dealings”.

    I don’t think that this will be the last time that The Columbian immerses itself in total hypocrisy just to generate “controversy” so it can sell a few copies of garbage fish-wrapping.


  4. I saw that.


    It reminds me too of how they treated Stacee Sellers. Anything Jon Russell said was taken as gospel.


  5. “Well, here you go Lou Brancaccio. The Columbian is engaging in “rumors” and “speculation” and is allowing commentors to engage in “rumors” and “speculation”.

    So tell us about “Jim Jacks” again and start “preaching”.

    You guys are only “holier than thou” when it’s something you’re trying whitewash. That’s obvious”.


  6. At least, they are transparent about it 😉

    A reporter from Olympia told me it is just a matter of receiving confirmation on the rumors.

    They will run with it up there. Lou will still be crying no paper trail.


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