More dirt from the Kean campaign
Why Bob Menendez gave me a Hudson County
Kean researcher's own past ends up in spotlight
By Cynthia Burton
Inquirer Staff Writer
A researcher working on Thomas H. Kean Jr.'s proposed film attacking U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez once sent out thousands of anonymous post cards and automated phone calls accusing a New Hampshire candidate's wife of being in an orgasm cult.
Christopher Lyon's resume includes work done for Republican state parties in New York and Virginia, more than one New Jersey congressman, former New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler, and now Kean, Menendez's challenger in New Jersey's U.S. Senate race.
Kean says Menendez was no hero when he testified against a bribe-taking boss of Union City, N.J., almost a quarter-century ago. Former prosecutors said Menendez's testimony was a courageous act.
Lyon came into the light when he told a New York Times reporter about the Menendez movie.
Menendez campaign spokesman Matthew Miller said a candidate's background was a legitimate area of inquiry, but that it was the Kean campaign's "deliberate misrepresentation of information that is so objectionable."
Miller described Lyon as a "criminal" even though Lyon was never adjudicated in the New Hampshire matter.
The Portsmouth Herald reported in September 2000 that anonymous mailers had accused Republican gubernatorial candidate Gordon Humphrey's wife of being an active member of a cult that "advocates adults and children have orgasms as a means to reaching inner peace."
Menendez made a dramatic speech in June saying Kean did not have the standing to bad-mouth him, and twice in a debate Menendez told Kean that the challenger would say anything to win.
There is no doubt that Lyon is sifting through Menendez's long career of public service in Congress, the Legislature and Union City to build a case against him in the movie and in television commercials.
And Lyon's background is no secret. The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office issued a 300-page report on the orgasm-cult accusations.
Lyon surfaced again when the New York Post wrote that GOP insiders in New York believed he was behind an anonymous 1999 letter accusing then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who was considering a run for the U.S. Senate, of trying to take over the Empire State's Republican Party.
No one ever proved it. Instead, the Post proved that Lyon was working for U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio (R., N.Y.), who also was considering a Senate run. The Lazio campaign initially denied to a Post reporter that Lyon was on his payroll, but the Post later learned that Lazio was paying Lyon through a non-federal campaign account.
Kean campaign spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said that "as the boss of Hudson County, Bob Menendez doesn't have the standing to lecture anyone about ethics."
This election is set for Nov. 7. The summer is usually a quiet season in campaigns, but clearly not this one.
This is going to blow up on Kean. Because he's got nothing else to run on. He can't have Bush near him, so he wants to make Menendez look like a crook. Only problem, the Times is likely to be going back to 1982, reviewing transcripts, and write the whole thing up.
The swiftboating here is likely to be seen as race baiting and Willie Horton just adds on to that.
Kean should be running against Corzine and his policies, not trying to make Menendez look like a crook when he isn't.
posted by Steve @ 9:15:00 AM