Even as we were processing the latest details of Weinergate Redux last week, new problems were brewing in Camp Weiner. Over the weekend, as the Times first reported, Anthony Weiner’s campaign manager abruptly quit. It’s almost impossible to figure out why 30-year-old Danny Kedem might have felt the need to jump ship, isn’t it? It may possibly have something to do with the fact that his candidate’s penis apparently requires fresh air, direct sunlight, and the gazes of women other than his wife in order to thrive.
But while Weiner was busy telling reporters that Kedem’s departure is a non-issue, he also had to make time to fight off another, more interesting potential scandal. The Daily News alleged on Sunday that back in 2011, after Weiner accidentally tweeted the Boxer-Briefed Boner Heard ‘Round the World, he then hired a private company to investigate who had “hacked” his Twitter. Even though, you know, no one actually had.
Daily News reporter Greg B. Smith found that in 2011, just after the scandal broke, Weiner paid $43,100 to T&M Protection Services, an “integrated security” firm that also performs forensic data investigations. They promise their clients that they can “discreetly discover the facts surrounding suspected dishonesty through electronic investigation,” which must have been real easy in this case. Everybody probably got home in time for lunch. (T&M declined to tell the Daily News what they’d been hired for or what their investigation found.)
Smith also reports that records show Weiner’s campaign paid law firm BakerHostetler $93,350 for legal services between January 2010 and December 2012. Weiner spokesperson Barbara Morgan told the paper, “The Weiner campaign hired lawyers and other professionals as part of responding to the many official and media inquiries before and after his resignation.”
On Sunday, a whole slew of reporters stopped Weiner outside a campaign event at a Baptist Church in Brownsville, where he proceeded to make a number of claims. Claim No. 1: People are still dying to work for Anthony Weiner. “We’ve gotten more volunteers and more people coming over to help the campaign in the last several days than over any time since the campaign started,” he said, according to NY1. That’s clearly an outrageous statement, bordering on laughable, but everyone was much too kind to press him for details.
Claim No. 2 dealt with the Daily News‘ report which, Weiner told NY1, “was incorrect.” In fact, he said, “We paid for lawyers and investigators as part of the investigations that were going on. The Ethics Committee had an investigation going on. There were press inquiries that were coming in. So, the report in the Daily News is untrue about what the [inaudible] funds were used for, as you can see from our quote, which clarified it, we thought, but apparently not.”
Wait, what? Weiner appears to be claiming that he had to pay a private investigator to help out with the House Ethics Committee investigation against him. That’s the one Nancy Pelosi called for in the immediate wake of the scandal. We can think of a few conflicts of interest that might result from a private company helping out with a governmental investigation, a scenario which seems–let’s just go with “unlikely.” That’s probably the nicest way to put it.
In any case, it’s unclear if the Ethics Committee ever actually undertook an investigation of Weiner’s conduct and/or finances; the committee, on which Pelosi sits, has never released a single statement or report on the matter. At the time, Melanie Sloan, who heads Washington’s Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, told NPR that the Ethics Committee “is where ethics investigations go to die.”
Weiner told the reporters assembled in Brooklyn several times that the campaign is really about “the middle class, and those struggling to make it.” As it happens, that second one is also a pretty great way to describe Anthony Weiner.