MO: Carnahan campaigner plays anti-Catholic card

In theory, Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo. cannot lose in his heavily Democratic district. But he seems to be hitting the panic button. Carnahan’s opponent, Ed Martin, has caught fire in fundraising and now has a larger campaign warchest heading into the final stretch. Carnahan’s being dragged down by the fact that his politically connected family appears to be getting rich off of stimulus contracts and federal largesse.

Now a former Carnahan campaign worker has launched an outrageous website smearing Carnahan’s Catholic opponent as being part of the pedophilia scandal in the St. Louis diocese. According to a St.Louis television station, “The site’s creator [Michael Corwin] said he was hired to do research for the campaign, but parted ways with Carnahan’s people after disagreeing about whether or not to pursue these allegations.” Uh huh.

The thin reed of evidence supporting Corwin’s conspiracy theory is that Martin worked in the human rights office of the Catholic archdiocese of St. Louis. If they’re anything like the offices that other dioceses maintain, they chiefly assist political refugees from foreign countries and help them with their immigration paperwork. Somehow, Corwin finds in this a connection between Martin and the pedophilia scandal.

The claims supporting the accusation on Corwin’s unhinged website are tendentious, unfair and baseless. Fortunately, the information is also presented in a nearly unreadable 8,000-word screed. But the entire episode says a lot about a credulous local media that will reprint almost anything, no matter how irresponsible. It also says a lot more about the character of those involved in the Carnahan campaign than it does about Martin.

Corwin’s conspiracy theory that Martin felt “free to supersede the laws of the United States Constitution when handling pedophile priests, by simply obeying divine law of the Church—something not even the President of the United States could do” is just nonsense on stilts. If you must have a more detailed rebuttal, here’s Martin’s response from his website. Responsible Democrats should immediately repudiate this attack, as they have Jack Conway’s religious attacks on Rand Paul.

Also, note to candidates — if you are going to launch a desperate political smear campaign at the end of a race, then having a former campaign worker do it is just pathetic and transparent. It didn’t work when Christine O’Donnell’s former campaign workers accused Mike Castle of having a gay affair, and it probably won’t work here.

Beltway ConfidentialCongresselection 2010US

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