FLASHBACK: When the New York Times Admitted to Using Democratic Oppo Research

New York Times building
June 8, 2015

The New York Times report last week on Marco Rubio and his wife's multiple traffic citations had the fingerprints of liberal opposition research firm American Bridge all over it, but the paper maintains that multiple reporters came across the traffic citations independently "while looking into something else."

Last year, though, in a story on the cover of its Sunday paper on Charles and David Koch, New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore disclosed that "the Times was alerted to the [Koch] archive by American Bridge, a liberal political organization that has been critical of the Kochs."

Confessore's deep-dive into the 1980 election that "gave birth to [the] Kochs’ powerful network" was based on an archive of thousands of documents at the University of Virginia that contained decades-old Libertarian Party political files including speech transcripts, campaign letters, and internal campaign talking points.

Attacking the Kochs has become the main initiative for American Bridge and its head David Brock. In a fundraising pitch delivered to wealthy liberal donors earlier this year, Brock indicated he would like to frame the 2016 election as more of a fight against the Kochs and their spending infrastructure than a fight for Hillary Clinton.

Miami-Dade County court records for each of the Rubio's traffic citations show that American Bridge was in the courthouse on May 26 to get the documents. A little more than a week later, the New York Times published the findings.

A Monday review of the court records showed no sign that anybody other than American Bridge has retrieved the documents, despite the claim from the Times that they hired somebody through Westlaw Court Express who pulled the records last week.