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September 21, 2005
Dem Dirty Tricks In Maryland?

Maryland Democrats opposing Michael Steele's possible run for the Senate seat opened up by the retirement of Paul Sarbanes apparently got hold of his credit report, a violation of privacy laws. Two staffers have resigned, and the FBI apparently will investigate the campaign:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said Tuesday that two of its employees obtained the credit report of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, a potential Republican challenger next year for the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Paul Sarbanes.

Phil Singer, spokesman for the committee, said in a statement issued in Washington that the two employees have resigned. He said the credit report was not used or disseminated to anyone, and the incident was reported to the U.S. attorney's office.

"While the DSCC did not authorize the employees to access Mr. Steele's credit report, we regret that this incident occurred and apologize to Mr. Steele," the statement said.

Singer would not expand on the statement.

Paul Ellington, Steele's chief of staff, said in a statement that "this is a serious legal issue, and a criminal investigation is under way. We have been advised by the FBI to not comment and will honor their request."

The DSCC website contains no mention of this incident or Singer's press release, although they have no problem expressing their glee over the arrest of David Savafian. Note the odd passive voice in the second paragraph of the excerpt: "... and the incident was reported to the US attorney's office." That obviously intends to imply that the DSCC or Democrats in general reported the violation, but it could also mean that the feds got tipped off by someone else and it forced the resignation of two political scapegoats.

As one of a handful of prominent black conservatives coming up through the ranks, any election involving Michael Steele will have a high priority for Democratic opposition. I had the good fortune to see Steele speak in person to the Republican convention in 2004, and the man will provide Democrats with nightmares on the stump. Articulate, knowledgeable, passionate, and humorous, he embodies the communication skills of a Ronald Reagan with a keen grasp of policy. He may need more seasoning before making a run for national office perhaps, but not much more. Apparently, the Democrats agree.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 21, 2005 6:14 AM

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