I’m quoted approvingly in a GOP DonorGate press release!

Well, my bipartisan credentials are now established, I guess.

Over the weekend, I wrote that the Star Tribune had some materials related to the DonorGate allegations before a first lawsuit was filed. Sunday, the Minnesota GOP issued a press release (following a news conference) using my report to demand the Strib explain its role in the the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s DonorGate ad.

Fair enough. I’d like the Strib to explain more, too — without compromising sources. However, the GOP is leveraging my report and parallel stories by Minnesota Independent’s Steve Perry to highlight “contradictions” they say make the Strib look bad.

As I’ve learned, in DonorGate, “contradict” is a word that gets you into trouble.

When Strib managing editor Rene Sanchez told me the Strib didn’t have a copy of the initial Texas lawsuit before it was filed, I said he “contradicts” Coleman’s claim the paper had a “copy of these allegations.” I had to walk that back Sunday, noting the Strib had something,though not a lawsuit copy.

But now the GOP claims my latest report contradicts Strib investigative reporter Paul McEnroe’s statement to Perry: “Nobody sent an anonymous package to me or Tony” Kennedy, his partner.

There’s no contradiction.

McEnroe is responding to the Coleman camp’s initial claim that the allegations were “delivered in an unmarked envelope to two Minneapolis Star Tribune reporters.” (Emphasis mine.)

And nothing was sent to McEnroe or Kennedy — the envelope wasn’t addressed to a reporter, my sources say.

Therefore, both on-the-record Strib statements are true: the paper didn’t receive a copy of the lawsuit before it was filed, and the paper didn’t receive anything addressed to McEnroe and Kennedy, as Coleman claims.

But the Strib did receive something. What was it?

The Coleman camp has insinuated it was a copy of the eventual allegations, if not in lawsuit form. But I now believe that it was far less than that. The material was so vague it couldn’t be called a document, and so lacking in credibility that no Strib reporter was working the story seriously before the lawsuit was filed.

As somewhat objective proof of my belief, remember that the Strib, which supposedly had this tremendous head start, didn’t confront Coleman until two days after the initial Texas lawsuit was filed Monday, Oct. 27.

McEnroe’s now legendary Coleman confrontation occurred Wednesday, Oct. 29.

And by the way, the Strib has — on the record and in print — denied any involvement with the DSCC’s Nov. 1 attack ad.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Justin Heideman on 11/03/2008 - 08:45 am.

    Were the hints for the lawsuit written on the back of a unicorn? Perhaps tattooed onto the belly of a leprechaun?

    The Star Tribune’s vagueness and lack of transparency is just damn confusing. I get that they might be protecting sources, but if it was so useless they couldn’t base a story on it, why aren’t they more clear about it? There’s a lot of stinky fish in this story.

  2. Submitted by David Brauer on 11/03/2008 - 09:11 am.

    Justin –

    I know *something* came in an envelope, I don’t know if anything else came in separately (be it on a magical creature or otherwise) and I don’t know the specifics of the info.

    But yes, it would be good if the Strib disclosed as much as they could. Then again, there’s a long-held belief among dailies “not to become part of the story” even though they clearly are. On one level, it validates and underscores one side’s attempt to make the messenger, not the message, the issue.

    But since I cover the messengers, I’ll keep after this as best I can.

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