Martha Robertson in NY-23 has yet to provide proof of the fundraising solicitation that GOP operatives tried to hack her website. (Update – NY Daily News picks up story based on LI reporting)
Martha Robertson is the Democratic challenger to Republican Tom Reed in NY-23, one of the few competitive districts in the House. While the District leans Republican after redistricting, it contains Ithaca where a heavy Democratic turnout could make the race competitive.
Robertson is a Jumpstart candidate for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a priority candidate for Emily’s List.
As I previously posted, on September 30 Robertson’s campaign sent out an email soliciting donations as the fundraising Quarter was ending based on the accusation that the campaign had “caught” “GOP Ops” trying to take down Robertson’s website.
Yet Robertson’s campaign would not speak on the record as to any evidence supporting that accusation.
This refusal to back up the accusation raised the possibility that if Robertson had no evidence supporting the hacking accusation, the fundraising solicitation was made based on false pretenses.
Despite my follow ups, including with the campaign Chair, the Robertson campaign has not provided any proof to back up its claim.
I have left a phone message seeking an update as to Robertson’s proof, and emailed her campaign requesting comment for this story. I also contacted the campaign’s Chair, former congressional candidate Nate Shinagowa (in image above), who told me by email that he had no day-to-day involvement in the campaign. As of this writing, no response from the campaign.
Apparently I’m not the only one getting the silent treatment. A local television station also received no response from the Robertson campaign:
WETM reached out to the Robertson campaign Saturday for comment on the Congressman’s statement. Our e-mail was not returned.
The Reed campaign jumped on the accusation, demanding an answer. (Letter embedded below.) but also received the brush off, commenting as follows in an email to me:
We’ve received no response. We believe Martha Robertson needs to either explain what happened or explain why she is lying in order to try to raise campaign funds. These are legitimate questions and she is refusing to answer them.
I reached out to the DCCC for comment for this story, but no response. The National Republican Congressional Committee provided this statement:
“Every report out there has Martha Robertson refusing to answer questions about this alleged “hackergate” situation. The logical conclusion to be drawn from her silence is that her campaign made a false accusation via email solely for the purpose of soliciting campaign funds. At the very least that shows a stunning lack of judgment and integrity on Robertson’s part and voters should really start to ask questions about Robertson’s values and fitness for higher office. Whether that email also constitutes something even more serious is certainly a legitimate question that only Robertson can put to rest by facing the music and talking to the media about why this email was sent and for what purpose it was sent.”
Update: The NY Daily News has picked up on the story based on our reporting:
Republicans are privately convinced Robertson’s campaign concocted the claim. They are stopping just shorting of saying so.
“This is about her credibility,” Wimer said Monday. “Is she going to blatantly lie to raise money?”
“She’s gotta take responsibility and ownership for it, if she’s telling a lie,” he said. That’s her name on there and nobody else’s.”
A Washington lawyer tracking the case noted the lying in a campaign solicitation may be wire fraud.
“If Robertson was lying, she could have run afoul of 18 U.S.C. 1343, the attorney said.
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