A firm with a history of harassing individuals who donate to Republican social conservatives prepared the report Planned Parenthood is using to defend itself to members of Congress following its ongoing video scandal, a report says.
As Mark Hemingway observes at the Weekly Standard, however, Fusion GPS is “an opposition research firm with ties to the Democratic party and has a history of harassing socially conservative Republican donors, possibly on behalf of the Obama campaign.”
In May of 2012, the Wall Street Journal observed that Fusion GPS was responsible for conducting a smear campaign against Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot after it was revealed he had donated $1 million to a super PAC that supported then-GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
WSJ reported: “President Obama’s campaign website teed him up in April as one of eight ‘less than reputable’ Romney donors and a ‘bitter foe of the gay rights movement.’ One sin: His wife donated to an anti-gay-marriage campaign, of the kind that have passed in 30 or so states.”
Subsequently, a former Democrat Senate staffer, Michael Wolf, working for Fusion GPS, called the courthouse in VanderSloot’s hometown asking for his divorce records.
In a story that seems mostly supportive of Planned Parenthood, Politico writes that the report shows, “there is no evidence that the anti-abortion group behind the attack made up dialogue.” Further, the report for Planned Parenthood acknowledged something important: “But the firm also wrote that it is impossible to characterize the extent to which the edits and cuts distort the meaning of the conversations depicted and that there was no “widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.”
The videos have led to an eruption of outrage from the conservative base of the Republican Party and the pro-life community, featuring tens of thousands of Americans participating in protests throughout the country as well as demands to Congress that Planned Parenthood finally is cut off from taxpayer funds.
As The Hill reports, Fusion GPS claims it analyzed 12 hours of the videos, resulting in its discovery of dozens of splices that manipulated conversations.
“The short tapes are severely edited in ways that are definitely misleading and intended for the purpose of advocacy,” said Glenn Simpson, a partner at Fusion GPS – and former WSJ reporter – who analyzed the tapes.
According to Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens, Simpson said that dialogue from one Planned Parenthood medical director describing lab protocols was “cut and strung together” to give the appearance the official was discussing altering the abortion procedure.
“The tapes are not an accurate record of what happen,” Laguens said. “They are made to sound that they are talking about things they are not even talking about and to be put in the worst light.”
“We are certainly hopeful that leadership of the House and Senate will take action to correct the path that this is headed on,” said Laguens.
The Hill also observes, “The public relations push could also provide cover for allies of Planned Parenthood, whose attempts to help the organization have been hurt by the controversy surrounding the fetal tissue program.”
In her letter to Republican and Democrat House and Senate leaders, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards claims her organization’s California affiliate receives a “modest reimbursement” of $60 per tissue specimen from a procurement company.
[I] want to share information with you about the outrageous activities of anti-abortion activist David Daleiden. Mr. Daleiden and his associates have sought to infiltrate Planned Parenthood affiliates and unsuccessfully to entrap Planned Parenthood physicians and staff for nearly three years. It is clear they acted fraudulently and unethically – and perhaps illegally. Yet it is Planned Parenthood, not Mr. Daleiden, that is currently subject to four separate congressional investigations.
In response to Richards’ letter, Daleiden said in a statement:
Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards makes two key admissions today in Planned Parenthood’s letter to Congress: that Planned Parenthood gets paid $60 per baby body part harvested, and that Planned Parenthood doctors alter their abortion procedures to get higher-quality body parts. Both of these admissions speak to Planned Parenthood’s financial benefit and profit motive for supplying fetal tissue, and both are the points CMP’s videos have documented and illustrated from the very beginning. When a Tissue Procurement Organization handles all dissection, packaging, and shipping of fetal organs, and all Planned Parenthood does is spend 10 minutes consenting a patient, the $60 per body part harvested quickly adds up to illegal baby parts profit for Planned Parenthood. And when a Planned Parenthood doctor manipulates the abortion to get higher-quality baby parts, they are prizing Planned Parenthood’s financial interests ahead of women’s health.