|Martin Files Complaint over Website Done by Researchers Who Worked for Carnahan
By Jake Wagman
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 29, 2010
Ed Martin is not buying that a website targeting him was a freelance project by researchers who worked for his opponent.
The Republican Congressional hopeful has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Comission against his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, alleging the website represents an unlawful coordinated attack.
The site, TheRealEdMartin.com, seeks to tie Martin, former head of the Human Rights office for the St. Louis Archdiocese, to priest abuse.
For "evidence," the site provides a nebulous collection of videos and news clippings, including Martin's 2003 wedding announcement in the New York Times and video of a victim of priest abuse who doesn't mention Martin at all.
The sites two authors are researchers who had done work for the Carnahan campaign -- including one whose firm was paid about $2,000 days before the site was created.
Even so, the Carnahan campaign claims the researchers acted independently -- that, using information they gathered for Carnahan, they created the site on their own, without the campaign's authorization.
Carnahan, though, has not discouraged questions about the inferences contained at TheRealEdMartin.com.
"The fact is, we have been completely transparent about the fact that we had nothing to do with the posting of this website," Carnahan campaign spokeswoman Angela Guyadeen said in a response to the complaint. "The only person who has refused to answer questions about this is Ed Martin. It's a simple question that deserves a clear yes or no answer: Did you know what was going on, Ed?"
Ed has issued several statements about his tenure at the Archdiocese, which included serving on a church advisory board, the Curia.
"I had zero involvement or authority on the adjudication or disposition of those accused of crimes or wrongdoing," Martin said.
In his complaint, Martin expresses doubt that the Carnahan campaign did not know about the web page.
The site, he says in the complaint, "was in fact a coordinated expenditure with Congressman Russ Carnahan and the Carnahan for Congress congressional campaign with the intent to deceive potential voters and evade proper federal disclosures."
Martin alleges that the $6,495 Carnahan's campaign paid to a research firm wasn't just for services previously rendered -- as Carnahan has said -- but included their work on the site.
Any campaign material paid for or authorized by a candidate is required to carry a disclaimer -- anonymous attacks are prohibited by election laws.
If the accusations in Martin's complaint sound familiar, that's because Carnahan filed a similar grievance against his 2004 primary opponent, Jeff Smith, when both were vying to replace veteran Congressman Dick Gephardt.
Carnahan accused Smith of authorizing an anonymous flier targeting Carnahan's record as a state representative.
The FEC never found any wrongdoing, but, later, in attempt to cover up his involvement, Smith lied to the FBI, which led to his recent stay in federal prison.
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