In early October, 2013, Legal Insurrection broke the story of a claim by Martha Robertson, the Emily’s List-backed Democratic challenger in NY-23, that GOP operatives were caught trying to take down her website during a crucial fundraising period last fall.

The District is a key priority for both parties, and money is pouring in from around the country. The District leans Republican, but Democrats are hopeful they can pull a rabbit out of a hat here because of the large liberal vote in the Ithaca area. It’s a Wendy Davis strategy — get out the base in the liberal areas, and hope others stay home.

Robertson never has provided any evidence of such hacking, but promised to hire a forensic computer expert to provide the proof. Then Robertson broke that promise, and said she would not be hiring an expert.

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air had a write up on Robertson’s fundraising problem,Could NY-23 Dem candiate have (gasp) lied about GOP cyberattack?

The claim of GOP hacking appears to have been false. The type of disruption her campaign described was the type of routine server issue almost every website experiences, and there is no evidence of any actual disruption.

Rather than come clean, admit the error, and offer to refund donations to people who received the false solicitation, the Robertson campaign is in shutdown mode on the issue. They have not returned my inquiries for months, and now are dodging the major local media outlets.

When the local Republican Party filed an election complaint recently, the Robertson campaign still refused media inquiries.

Instead, the Robertson campaign immediately changes the subject, as reflected in this report from WETM:

The Buffalo News was given the brush off:

Five months after Democratic congressional candidate Martha Robertson raised big bucks off an unproven claim that Republicans tried hacking her website, GOP operatives are accusing her of fraud.

Tompkins County Republican Chairman James Drader last week filed a complaint with the state Board of Elections about Robertson’s Sept. 30 fundraising email, in which she said: “Our web manager just caught GOP ops trying to shut down my website! I cannot believe it!”

So far, Robertson – who is challenging Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, in the Southern Tier’s 23rd district – has not offered any public proof of any such attack.

That fact prompted Drader to say she has violated the state Fair Election Code’s prohibition on “the preparation or distribution of any fraudulent, forged or falsely identified writing.” ….

While it’s impossible to know how much money Robertson raised on Sept. 30 before and after sending that email, her campaign finance report shows that she raised $31,620 in personal contributions on that day. That’s more than a third of her total for the entire quarter.

After receiving Drader’s complaint on Friday, The Buffalo News asked the Robertson campaign to publicly release the database cache that would show activity on her website last Sept. 30, but the campaign refused. In addition, Robertson campaign manager Jordanna Zeigler refused to answer a series of detailed emailed questions about the incident, instead issuing a statement attacking Reed by repeating the conclusion of a Buffalo News story of a week ago….

In a telephone conversation, Zeigler also refused to speak on the record about whether Robertson actually wrote the email, whether she approved of it before it went out and whether there was any proof that the website attack came from Republican operatives. Robertson’s fundraising email appeared on the last day of the fundraising quarter – a day when all campaigns make last-minute appeals to boost their quarterly totals.

This type of media evasion worked for Elizabeth Warren on her fake Native American story. But Robertson is no Elizabeth Warren and she’s not in Massachusetts.

Robertson is a relative unknown who has run away from her left-wing, Single Payer philosophy because the District leans Republican.

Rather than coming clean, Robertson is keeping the issue alive by her dismissive attitude towards local media and voters on the issue.


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