In recent days, democratic officials have butted heads with reporters for simply asking them questions as part of their job.
Dave Philipps, a reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette, was doing a brief interview with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, when he was threatened with physical assault for asking a question about wild horses. Salazar was appointed to the post by President Obama.
Philipps wrote an article for ProPublica where he claimed the Bureau of Land Management was knowingly selling wild horses to a middleman who may have sold them for slaughter in Mexico.
The story dealt with Tom Davis, a neighbor of Salazar’s who purchased 1,700 wild horses from the federal government, but now has no record of what happened to them. Davis supports horse slaughter, however it is illegal to slaughter wild horses on public lands.
During the interview, Salazar was asked about the horses. According to an audio tape, Salazar said the government was working on the problem.
However, moments later Salazar approached Philipps saying, “Don’t you ever … You know what, you do that again … I’ll punch you out.”
Following reporting of the event, Salazar issued an apology saying he “regrets” making the threat.
Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel, who was Obama’s former Chief of Staff, has also had an incident with reporters recently. Emanuel, in violation of Illinois state law, secretly recorded phone conversations with reporters without their consent.
Unlike Colorado where recording a conversation only requires the consent of one of the parties, Illinois law makes recording a conversation without the consent of all parties involved a felony, making it one of the strictest in the nation.
Following the recording, a city attorney said the mayor’s violation og the law was no big deal because the practice was widespread and they have taken steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Speaking at a press conference, Emanuel said those upset with his recording people without their consent were making “much ado about nothing.”
“My view is, like all, we have a press conference here, I expect my staff to have a record of it,” the mayor said. “And if I have a phone conversation, an interview, I expect to have a record of it as well.”
The Chicago Tribune reported the recordings were not an isolated incident, citing several instances where government officials have broken the law by not obtaining consent.