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The John Kline campaign here in MN-02 cried foul as a volunteer for opponent Coleen Rowley attempted to make an illegal cash donation at the Congressman's district office. David Bailey claimed he just wanted to get on Kline's mailing list to keep abreast of his record, but that hardly requires a wad of cash ... at least not for Republicans:
Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., accused Democratic challenger Coleen Rowley Wednesday of using a "double-agent" to attempt to make an illegal campaign contribution and infiltrate his re-election campaign.
Rowley's campaign denied the allegations of wrongdoing, which were contained in new campaign literature as well as a letter addressed to Rowley. ...
The new complaint was made in a letter to Rowley from Kline volunteer Diana Bratlie, who charges that a would-be Kline campaign donor on Feb. 27 was David Bailey, now Rowley's director of "earned" (news) media.
According to Bratlie, Bailey was initially rebuffed when he showed up at Kline's district office in Burnsville asking to make a cash contribution. Bailey was reportedly directed to Kline's campaign office in the same building, where he met with Bratlie.
In her letter, Bratlie said Bailey "was clearly trying to hide his identity" and then "began to withdraw cash to make a campaign donation."
Bratlie says she told Bailey that Kline's campaign does not accept cash donations, and he left.
At the time, Bailey was a Rowley volunteer and blogger who posted an Internet blog critical of Kline. Rogers noted that at the time of the alleged incident, Bailey was not on Rowley's campaign.
Bear in mind that this happened on February 27th of this year. Bailey insists that all he wanted was to get added to Kline's mailing list in order to be informed of his activities on behalf of his Eagan constituents (of which I am one also). That seems very difficult to believe -- especially since Bailey at the time ran a blog called The Kline Record, which he updated from October 2005 to May 2006, when he joined the Rowley campaign.
Interestingly, Bailey failed to mention this attempt to donate money to Kline's campaign on this blog. It would seem to be a bloggable event, having met with Kline staffers in both his district office and his campaign headquarters. However, the man now serving as Rowley's director of "earned media" did report his visit on March 4th, while withholding his attempt to drop cash on the staff:
I recently visited Kline's campaign and congressional offices in Minnesota, and asked them both for any literature, fact sheets, pamphlets, etc. they might have explaining Kline's views on various issues. The campaign office had nothing --- apparently they had just completed a big mailing in advance of party caucuses, and sent everything out. The congressional office similarly had nothing. They told me that I could leave specific questions with them and they would get back to me. That seems to be their stock answer.
Now, of course, Bailey has changed his story somewhat after the Kline offices figured out who he is. The Star Tribune reports that Bailey acknowledges that his visit was something more than a fact-finding tour:
Bailey, a 38-year-old software developer from Eagan, acknowledged trying to make a campaign contribution to get on Kline's mailing list, but merely as a constituent and political activist who wanted to learn about Kline's stands on issues such as the Iraq war and the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program.
The Rowley campaign has tried to smear Kline before. As we reported about a month before Bailey's clumsy attempt at entrapment, Rowley's campaign photoshopped a picture of John Kline to put him in a Nazi uniform. They thought it was a funny play on his name, associating him with "Hogan's Heroes" character Commandant Klink, but for the decorated Marine, it represented a deep insult to his honor and service.
Apparently the Rowley campaign hasn't learned anything about honor in the time since then. How many more smear jobs will Rowley's staff try before she takes responsibility for her trashy campaign?
UPDATE: Corrected the district number, thanks to Jeff in the comments. Power Liberal tries to spin this using Bailey's original explanation, which he has already conceded was incomplete at best. Kline doesn't hire people to represent his campaign who spend their time trying to conduct crude entrapment missions as Bailey did in February under the cover of being an "interested constituent". Bailey did that while volunteering for the Rowley campaign, and now Rowley's his employer and has to answer for her staffing decisions.
UPDATE II: My radio partner Mitch notes that this appears to have some precedent among DFL operatives.Sphere It View blog reactions
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