Relayed to me by my editor-mate Mike Edgerly who just got off the phone with Tim Pugmire who talked to the Bachmann campaign today -- I think -- as part of a piece he's running tonight on the Star Tribune poll:
The Bachmann campaign says it has a "spy" in its midst.
Scheck relays info from Pugmire that says, "Wetterling Campaign Manager Corey Day says they fired the staffer and says the campaign didn't know about the action. He said there's no room for shenanigans in this campaign."
Here's Pugmire's interview with Andy Parrish of the Bachmann campaign.
Here's a letter Bachmann's campaign sent to Wetterling:
October 17, 2006
Our campaign has recently uncovered a set of facts that are very disturbing. These facts point to what could be a dirty trick by your campaign and may involve violations of both federal and state campaign and communications laws.
On October 16, 2006 5:09 pm, Luke Hellier of my campaign staff received an email signed by someone named Erick. What flagged this email as unusual was the sender line read “Jon Bohn” firstname.lastname@example.org. The content of the email also contained information not available to the general public at that time. The sender asked my campaign about a media survey that had not yet been made available to the general public. The sender went on to ask about my campaign strategy.
Searching our volunteer records showed a person with the similar email address using the same screen name, email@example.com, had signed up as a volunteer as Erick Johnson on October 9 at 5:37 pm. Our records show that the person asked to volunteer to help make phone calls, help with literature drops and door knocking.
Further investigation shows Jon Bohn to be a member of your paid campaign staff. Mr. Bohn has been paid by your campaign since at least September.
Patty, it appears that Mr. Bohn has attempted to gain access to our campaign and our campaign strategy. These actions beg a series of questions.
1. Did Mr. Bohn sign up to volunteer using a false identity?
2. Was Mr. Bohn attempting to gain access to our campaign strategy using a false identity?
3. If Mr. Bohn was not using an email account with his name attached to it, who was the person using his account?
4. Were any of Mr. Bohn’s activities authorized by you or senior campaign staff?
5. Who else in your campaign knew of Mr. Bohn’s actions?
6. What other information has Mr. Bohn received about our campaign using false identities that we are not aware of?
A quick review of Federal and state law shows it may be illegal to attempt to gain access to an opponent’s campaign using false identities. Other laws involving illegal use of the internet may have been broken as well.
For this reason, I am forwarding this information to the Minnesota Attorney General and the U.S. District Attorney for further review.
In addition, we are reviewing our records for any additional suspicious activities. I have attached the questionable emails and volunteer form for your review.
I know campaigns can be tough. But playing dirty tricks has no place in Minnesota politics. Please let me know what your internal investigation uncovers.
Bachmann's letter says, "The sender asked my campaign about a media survey that had not yet been made available to the general public."
Is that really the case? The email references no specific poll, but I imagine the Bachmann campaign has the Minnesota Poll in mind. Yes, that poll was not yet released when this email was sent. But at the time the avalanchz email was sent, the latest poll released to the public would have been the RT Strategies/Constituent Dynamics poll showing Bachmann down by five. I don't think this particular claim made by the Bachmann campaign is supported by the facts.
I think Bachmann should be spending her time addressing the far more serious complaints about her political activity in churches and with other tax-exempt nonprofits. There are now two IRS complaints filed related to two separate incidents of illegal campaign activity involving Michele Bachmann, and at least one Federal Elections Commission investigation that has been ongoing for over a year, also involving Bachmann and a Minnesota nonprofit.
This, from a self-described "federal tax litigation attorney."
How hapless of a political dirty trickster do you have to be to get caught this easy? Minnesota is lagging behind in sleazy campaigning competency.