Yesterday the Politico revealed that US News columnist Brian Walsh has remained on the NRSC payroll while using his gig at US News to carry water for Mitch McConnell and NRSC communications director Brad Dayspring by trashing conservative organizations. Walsh not only kept this factoid hidden from his readers, he also failed to disclose his status to his employer.
U.S. News & World Report will start disclosing that columnist Brian Walsh, a former National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director, is still on the NRSC payroll, following an inquiry from POLITICO.
Since April, the NRSC has been giving Walsh $5,000 a month for communications, strategy and consulting, according to FEC filings. Walsh’s bio at U.S. News refers to him as “a government relations and public affairs strategist in Washington DC,” but does not mention that he is being paid by the Republican party.
In recent months, Walsh has used his column to target conservative hard-line groups, including the Senate Conservatives Fund and The Heritage Foundation, which have positioned themselves against establishment Republicans. Walsh is also frequently quoted in the press as a “former NRSC spokesperson” while speaking out against these groups.
Following an inquiry from POLITICO, U.S. News & World Report spokeswoman Lucy Lyons said the organization would amend Walsh’s biography to include his relationship with the NRSC.
“Walsh’s affiliation with the NRSC and role as a Republican strategist are identified in his blurb, but he did not disclose his role with the NRSC to us,” Lyons told POLITICO. “We would absolutely have disclosed this and are going back through and adding disclosures to the pieces he has written for us.”
For those of you who have sent money to the NRSC you need to ask yourself, was it worth it to give money to the NRSC so they could funnel it to someone who would attack conservatives while lying through omission about being paid to do so.
This kind of basic dishonesty has become the hallmark of the NRSC staff for a while. There is really no news here. Once you’ve decided to toss your integrity to the wind you find wide vistas opened to you that you’ve never previously considered. I imagine it could feel quite liberating.
How did Walsh respond? The same way the NRSC has taken to responding to criticism of their support for the #VichyCaucus in the Senate:
Meanwhile, Walsh told POLITICO that his relationship with the NRSC is well known to those he works with, and suggested that the Senate Conservatives Fund was behind the effort to force the disclosure.
“As a longtime Republican strategist it’s never been a secret that I try to help Republicans win and Democrats lose. So no one has ever questioned my motives but clearly purity for profit groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund are increasingly worried that more and more Republicans are exposing theirs,” he said. (POLITICO did not correspond with anyone from the SCF for this report.)
I don’t know who Walsh considers to be people he works, apparently his employer is not one of them. What is on display for the world to see is his rather grotesque view on disclosure and transparency. The way he blames others for “the effort to force the disclosure” rather than acknowledging that anyone with a modicum of ethical underpinning should have disclosed this relationship from the beginning tells you all you need to know about the character of the NRSC.
What is really a shame is the US News doesn’t have the guts to do what needs to be done: sever its relationship with someone as patently dishonest as Brian Walsh.