Labor Official Resigns After Bloomberg Portrays Sarcastic Facebook Posts as Antisemitic

A senior policy adviser in Department of Labor was forced to resign Friday after a Bloomberg reporter accused the official of making antisemitic comments on Facebook, even though the comments were clearly sarcastic and mocking the alt-right.

Leif Olson, 43, is a conservative appellate lawyer who started as an adviser in the department’s Wage and Hour Division on Aug. 12. His ouster is now being questioned because Bloomberg reporter Ben Penn’s “scoop” was quickly revealed to be a vicious attempt at character assassination.

Penn began his hit piece by noting that Olson has “a history of advancing controversial conservative and faith-based causes in court” and  “has resigned after revelations that he wrote a 2016 Facebook post suggesting the Jewish-controlled media ‘protects their own.’”

“Olson, an unsuccessful GOP candidate in 2012 for a Texas district court judgeship, fired off a series of late-night posts on his personal Facebook page three years ago that started as a sarcastic quip about former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s blowout primary victory. They then devolved into an exchange referencing two anti-Semitic tropes: that Jews control the media and that they look out for members of their own faith,” wrote Penn.

But the entire exchange was obviously a sarcastic reaction to then-House Speaker Paul Ryan primary victory against his alt-right challenger challenger Paul Nehlen. Someone (probably being sarcastic as well) commented on the post that Ryan must be a neo-con and a Jew, to which Olson replied, “It must be true because I’ve never heard the Lamestream Media report it, and you know they protect their own.” Ryan, of course, is Roman Catholic.

Olson wrote on Facebook Tuesday: “Greetings Bloomberg readers.  I never thought I’d see the day when making fun of alt-right anti-Semites led to being branded an anti-Semite, but here we are.”

In his lengthy post, Olson debunked a number of Penn’s misrepresentations regarding his involvement in “controversial” court cases.

In his article, Penn conveniently left out the fact that Ryan’s challenger in the 2016 race was an antisemitic politician.

Penn doubled down on his sketchy reporting Tuesday, calling the appointment of Olson “the latest in a series of mishaps under the Trump administration vetting system.”

Penn faced an immediate backlash on Twitter as the correct context of the Olson’s posts was easy to discern. In fact, some Twitter users pointed out that Penn had used a screenshot of Olson’s Facebook posts that cropped off a comment referencing his “epic sarcasm.”

The reporter said in his defense that all he did was ask officials at the Department of Labor for comment on the posts, but he had strongly suggested in his article and in his previous tweets that Olson had posted antisemitic material on Facebook.

Some suspect that the conservative lawyer was targeted because of his appellate work on a same sex marriage case that was filed before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

NBC’s Benjy Sarlin suggested on Twitter that Olsen could be reinstated at Labor after the severe backlash the Bloomberg story has received.

About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: (ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images)

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