It turns out that David Trone’s campaign wasn’t just spying on Kathleen Matthews. He also tried a similar tactic with Jamie Raskin’s campaign. Bethesda Magazine, in an update, has a statement from Trone:
Today, I learned that young people working for my campaign surreptitiously volunteered for the campaigns of other candidates in the race. After investigating the incident, I terminated those two employees and their supervisor effectively immediately. I called Kathleen Matthews and Jamie Raskin to apologize and to assure them that this activity is unacceptable and contrary to how my campaign will operate. Everyone in my campaign understands that they are expected to meet the highest standard of behavior when acting on my behalf.
One week, three fired employees. That’s a “burn rate” that may prove difficult for Trone to sustain.
What did the candidate know, and when did he know it? Man, I just love getting to use Watergate references 43 years later.
While the Matthews campaign took the matter seriously, Jamie Raskin clearly didn’t:
Raskin, when reached by phone Tuesday evening, downplayed the incident. He said senior staffers in his campaign identified a young volunteer who was “acting in somewhat bizarre ways” while part of a huge group of volunteers.
“This is not exactly Watergate,” Raskin said. “It is not going to cause any kind of crisis in our campaign. I don’t know what they were looking for, maybe my decade of success in Annapolis.”
Raskin added that he hopes Trone will release the names of the staffers involved in the “amateur espionage” to “tamp down any paranoia.”
When asked about what Trone said when he called, Raskin said the businessman had yet to contact him.
“I just received a call from David Trone’s secretary who asked if I would be available later tonight,” Raskin said. “So I have not had the chance to speak to David Trone yet, but when I talk to him I might ask for a loan.”
I wouldn’t have gone the comedy route. This was a chance to clearly define the Trone campaign as outside the boundaries, not just in its expenditures of vast sums on advertising, but in the area of ethics too. A missed opportunity, one that would have played to Raskin’s strengths re campaign finance reform, good government and transparency. No meaningful benefit was gained by going for snark.
Snark is dangerous. Read the directions on the box: Don’t try these dangerous stunts without professional supervision.