The Washington Post reported on Feb. 15 that the FBI has “found no evidence” that U.S. Senator Bob Menendez has been involved with under-age prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. The allegations originally stemmed from an email message from an anonymous tipster who continues to refuse to step forward. The recent scenario
reminds one of the “dirty tricks” tactics that were employed during Richard Nixon’s campaign for re-election 40 years ago.
Donald Henry Segretti, a young California Lawyer, was paid to create salacious allegations about a number of possible Democratic candidates, including Edmund Muskie, Henry “Scoop Jackson” and George McGovern. As part of his tactics, Segretti distributed forged campaign literature and letters. Among the fictional stories were the
allegations that Jackson had an illegitimate child with an under-age girl. Eventually, Segretti was convicted of a felony and spent time in prison and lost his law license for a period of time. However, the damage had been done. Muskie withdrew his candidacy when he realized that he was spending all his time defending himself against the false stories and not discussing relevant issues.
Segretti created the infamous “Canuck Letter,” forging Muskie’s signature as the author, maligning French Canada, its people, language and culture. By the time it was discovered that the letter and other false documents were the creation of Segretti, the impact had already created irreversible damage to Muskie’s presidential campaign.
The stories about Menendez are similar in nature. The allegations arose as he became the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Accusations also were levied at the Senator during his last two election campaigns and law enforcement investigations failed to find substantive evidence and no charges were filed. It has been suggested that his view of the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba differs from that of some members of
the committee. At present, no individual will step forward to take responsibility for the allegations against Menendez.
It is time to divert our attention away from salacious allegations and direct it to issues related to the needs of the American people.
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