Congressman Bobby Rush’s Communications Director Flips Out

I’m used to bizarre emails, but Sharon Jenkins, communications director for Congressman Bobby Rush, has set a new standard for responses to my work from public officials.

I just got an email from Jenkins, with the subject line “Misleading Outreach on a CTCP Issue,” in which she says, in part, “With this writing, please do not contact our office again.”

The proximate cause of Jenkins’ tantrum may be my post earlier today, “Congressman Bobby Rush Confirms That Investigations of WWE Are Dead.” Her stated beef, however, is with a report about my post at the website of Pro Wrestling Torch.

Because no second-hand characterization could do justice to this outburst as effectively as the primary record, I am simply reproducing below my entire exchange with Jenkins.

Irv Muchnick

***************

[sent March 8]

FAX to Sharon Jenkins

Communications Director

Congressman Bobby Rush

202-226-0333

Dear Ms. Jenkins:

I am seeking information about a matter before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.

In February 2008 the subcommittee held hearings on steroid policies in sports. Vince McMahon, chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment, was invited but did not intend. At the hearing, Congressman Rush expressed his disappointment and said that the subcommittee would continue to pursue the issue. What is the update on this situation?

Thank you for your attention. I will follow up by phone. My own contact information is below, as are links to my book and blog.

Irvin Muchnick

+++

Voice Mail Follow-up re Congressman Rush

Monday, March 8, 2010 1:41 PM

From: Sharon Jenkins

To: Irvin Muchnick

Good afternoon, Mr. Muchnick.  I received your voice mail message but, for now, our fax machine is down.  Please e-mail me your request and I’ll get back to you.  Thanks.

Sharon Jenkins

Communications Director

Office of U. S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (1st-Illinois)

+++

Re: Voice Mail Follow-up re Congressman Rush

Monday, March 8, 2010 1:46 PM

From: Irvin Muchnick

To: Sharon Jenkins

Thank you for getting back to me. Here it is:

[repeat text of fax]

+++

RE: Voice Mail Follow-up re Congressman Rush

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 8:22 AM

From: Sharon Jenkins

To: Irvin Muchnick

Good morning.  I’ve got this and have forwarded it to our subcommittee counsel for a response. I’ll get back to you ASAP.

+++

RE: Voice Mail Follow-up re Congressman Rush

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 8:34 AM
From: Irvin Muchnick
To: Sharon Jenkins
Thank you, Ms. Jenkins.
+++


Fw: RE: Voice Mail Follow-up re Congressman Rush

Thursday, March 11, 2010 9:59 AM
From: Irvin Muchnick <irvmuch@yahoo.com>
To: Sharon Jenkins <Sharon.Jenkins@mail.house.gov>
Gently following up again here. Thanks.
+++

Fw: RE: Voice Mail Follow-up re Congressman Rush

Monday, March 15, 2010 11:32 AM
From: Irvin Muchnick
To: Sharon.Jenkins@mail.house.gov
Reinforcing the voicemail message I just left. Thanks.
+++

RE: RE: Voice Mail Follow-up re Congressman Rush

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 8:10 AM
From: Sharon Jenkins
To: Irvin Muchnick <irvmuch@yahoo.com>

Thank you for your patience, Mr. Muchnick, but the issue you raised occurred in the last session of Congress and we wanted to check details.  Briefly stated, other than continued review by subcommittee staff of the monitoring and enforcement practices of WWE and other professional sports leagues, there are no plans, at this time, for further hearings or congressional actions on this subject.

Thank you for your interest and concern on this issue.  Take care.

Sharon Jenkins

+++

RE: RE: Voice Mail Follow-up re Congressman Rush

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:38 AM
From: Irvin Muchnick
To: Sharon Jenkins
Ms. Jenkins,

Thank you for getting back to me.

Irv Muchnick

+++


RE: RE: Voice Mail Follow-up re Congressman Rush

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 1:32 PM
From: Sharon Jenkins
To: Irvin Muchnick

You’re welcome.  Take care.

+++

Misleading Outreach on a CTCP Issue

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 1:44 PM
From: Sharon Jenkins
To: Irvin Muchnick
Cc: pwtorch@gmail.com

Mr. Muchnick, every now and then “reporters” like you reach out for less than honest reasons.  The statement I shared with you was accurate; however, the context in which you and or this organization you’re affiliated with (which  you DID NOT DISCLOSE) used the information in a totally different context.  With this writing, please do not contact our office again.  Your overtures for public information should be submitted to the full subcommittee.

I hope the “cc” listed above gets this information in a timely manner.  I’m unaware of this publication but, trusting that it’s reputable, I believe they’ll be interested in your less than professional outreach.   Context matters and, at this point, should actions be taken in the future, we’ll alert appropriate sources.

Take care.

Sharon Jenkins

Communications Director

Office of U. S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (1st-Illinois)

2416 Rayburn H.O.B.

Washington, D.C.  20515

202-225-4372

202-226-0333  Fax

http://www.house.gov/rush

EXCERPT FROM YOUR STORY:

WWE News: Congress not following up on WWE oversight, Linda McMahon skipping concussion hearing

Mar 16, 2010 – 12:37:06 PM

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ELIMINATE ADS AT PWTORCH.COM – GO VIP – CLICK FOR DETAILS

By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor

— The office of Congressman Bobby Rush, who helped Congress’s investigation of WWE’s drug-testing policy and history of health issues in pro wrestling in 2008, says there will be no further follow-up by Congressional committees on recommendations for independent government oversight.

“Briefly stated, other than continued review by subcommittee staff of the monitoring and enforcement practices of WWE and other professional sports leagues, there are no plans, at this time, for further hearings or congressional actions on this subject,” said a spokesman to wrestling author Irv Muchnick.

+++


Re: Misleading Outreach on a CTCP Issue

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 2:02 PM
From: Irvin Muchnick
To: Sharon Jenkins
Cc: pwtorch@gmail.com
Ms. Jenkins:
What an odd and inappropriate message you have sent me.

I will publish our complete email exchange on my blog, and readers will be able to make up their own minds whether I was in any way misleading in my request for a piece of routine public information from your office. I am an independent journalist, blogger, and author; my links are in the signature of my emails.

You conclusion that I am “affiliated” with Pro Wrestling Torch is wrong. That is a news organization, and it appears to have picked up the report on my blog. If you have a beef with PW Torch, kindly take it up with them directly.

Obviously, you can communicate with me in the future, or not, as you wish.

Irvin Muchnick

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