I agree with Pat Powers: at the moment when CNN’s Drew Griffin turns to convicted felon Annette Bosworth as an authoritative source, CNN’s investigation into Joel Arends’s questionable veterans’ group/superPAC loses credibility. I know CNN and the rest of the national media are eager to work any angle to squeeze ratings from Trump before his inevitable political collapse, and there’s a great anti-Trump storyline to pursue here: Donald Trump says he can deal with Vladimir Putin, but he gets snookered by small-time hustler from South Dakota who offers Trump political cover. But CNN’s willingness to extend convicted felon Bosworth’s already worn-out notoriety to bolster that storyline undermines the credibility of that storyline.
CNN also errs in referring to “Doctor” Annette Bosworth. By dint of her felony, Bosworth is no longer licensed to practice medicine. Do your homework, CNN!
That said, CNN’s investigation into Arends’s Veterans for a Strong America does provide some bits of information. Lawyer Arends has apparently hired Washington, D.C., Super Lawyer Cleta Mitchell of Foley and Lardner LLP. Check out the screen shot of the e-mail Foley and Larnder sent to CNN’s Griffin yesterday:
If Joel Arends wanted to play campaign finance with his fake non-profit (and yes, I think we’re allowed to say fake, since the IRS revoked VSA’s non-profit status in May), you’d think he would have consulted a campaign finance lawyer before endorsing Trump for President. But Arends apparently can’t even remember to file the 990s the IRS requires of non-profits, let alone keep his money grab from turning into a PR embarrassment for the candidate he was trying to help.
Meanwhile, back at the office of the last doomed candidate Arends tried to help, CNN gets a picture that shows Bosworth still can’t stop writing on walls:
Joel Arends, Steve Hickey, land raffles, Don Quiote & Sancho, revoke medical license… all under the heading U.S. SENATE. Yikes—don’t tell me she’s thinking about going back to her Democratic inclinations and running for Senate again.
Griffin does note that the jury didn’t buy Bosworth’s bald attempt to shift blame to Arends. But if the intent of the story is to discuss the unreliability of Arends’s claims about his veterans organization and to establish that VSA is a political group, not a charity, why include the refuted and rejected propaganda of a convicted felon on an unrelated matter? Why not ask Bosworth about the Philippines relief trip that Joel Arends organized for her under the VSA banner in 2014? Why not investigate whether Arends’s use of VSA resources to promote Bosworth’s candidacy is as shady as his current use of VSA resources to promote Trump?
And why not ask Arends to produce the evidence that would support his and Donald Trump’s claim that Veterans for a Strong America consists of “hundreds of thousands of veterans“? Arends claims to have a database of 500,000 people “who signed up to support VSA,” and he has threatened to sue MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow for defamation for breaking the news that the Trump endorser may be just Arends and not a vast mass of veterans:
If Arends is willing to make such claims, CNN should ask him to back those claims up. (And feel free to mention Arends’s hashtagging those statements under “Progressive Lies Matter.” How very Trumpy.)
CNN should not confuse the Arends-Trump connection for the baked, eaten, pooped, and flushed Bosworth story. Her crimes and lies are paragraph-16 filler for a much larger story. The Arends-Trump connection is a more newsworthy story of its own, in which we see the current Republican frontrunner cloaking himself in the endorsement of manufactured masses of veterans, and in which we see South Dakota lawyer Joel Arends making money by knitting those new clothes for the man who will not be Emperor.