Dem challenger Martha Robertson (NY-23) fundraises off allegation “GOP ops” tried to shut her website
Update — Reed campaign responds: “show us the evidence of this attack or admit that this is just a lie manufactured … to raise money”
Martha Robertson is a Democrat running for Congress in the NY-23 District against incumbent Republican Tom Reed.
Reed was the candidate featured in my post about immigration amnesty advocates attending Republican town halls over the summer.
I’m on Robertson’s mailing list, although I never signed up for anything.
Robertson is an Emily’s List priority candidate. Almost daily I receive emails from her attacking the Tea Party and Reed’s supposedly extremist positions (he’s actually what we would call a “moderate” Republican).
Normally I ignore the emails, but one last night took me by surprise, it was a fundraising email alleging that “GOP ops” were “trying to shut down” Robertson’s website during the end of Quarter fundraising drive. Here’s the substantive part of the email:
To: William A. Jacobson
Subject: I cannot believe it
Date: Monday, September 30, 2013 6:28:23 PM
William – our web manager just caught GOP ops trying to shut down my website! I cannot believe it!
They know we have less than 6 hours left to our major deadline at midnight! I need your help to fight back. Please click on the link below to help me reach our goal. We are just $6,520 short.
PLEASE call us if the page is not working [redacted] – anytime until midnight!
That claim that “GOP ops” tried to shut down her website was a very serious charge. I was particularly intrigued by the allegation that “GOP ops” were behind it, which was a key part of the fundraising pitch. Was that pitch accurate and based on facts, or just speculation?
The specific reference to “GOP ops” indicated that the Robertson campaign knew who the perpetrators were. Not only might such conduct be criminal, but it also would be a huge issue in the campaign if there were any connection to the Reed campaign. If, on the other hand, the Robertson campaign had no basis to allege that “GOP ops” were behind the computer attacks, that would make the fundraising pitch false and misleading.
So I reached out to Robertson’s campaign spokesman, George Koutsos, for details. Koutsos declined to make any on-the-record statement or provide any details on the record about the alleged computer interference.
I also reached out to the National Republican Congressional Campaign, which indicated it has no idea what Robertson was talking about and never would have anything to do with such a thing. The NRCC issued the following statement to me:
“If Martha Robertson has information that someone is trying to disable or shut down her campaign website, she should contact the authorities and not use it as an attempt to fundraise. However, given that Robertson is willing to have a sex offender headline a fundraiser for her, I wouldn’t put it past her to completely make this story up to try and get some extra donations from unsuspecting supporters before the end of the fundraising quarter.”
I also reached out to the Reed campaign, but the press spokesman was not reachable; if I hear back from them I will run their response.
At this point, until the Robertson campaign provides details, we’re just left to wonder whether there is substance behind the allegation that “GOP ops” tried to interfere with her campaign website, or whether that was just a baseless fundraising pitch.
Update 5:35 p.m. – Reed’s campaign spokesman Seth Wimer sends the following statement:
“If Martha Robertson is going to make such a crazy claim, she needs to back it up with proof. Mrs Robertson, either show us the evidence of this attack or admit that this is just a lie manufactured in an attempt to raise money.
It’s really unbelievable that just a day after using a convicted sex offender to raise campaign funds, Robertson has now told a blatant lie to try to raise more cash. That’s just despicable. If Robertson is willing to lie to her own supporters in order to raise money what’s to stop her from lying to the voters of the 23rd district?”
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