Paul Ostrow Claims He Wasn't Aware of What Jason Amundsen Did
The campaign manager for DFL congressional candidate Paul Ostrow resigned Thursday in response to revelations that he circulated reports of unsubstantiated 911 calls to police in an effort to smear opposing DFL candidate Keith Ellison.
Ostrow said he asked campaign manager Jason Amundsen to resign after Amundsen admitted e-mailing links to the calls to the news media this week. Ostrow said he was alerted to Amundsen's possible involvement from weblogs, or blogs, that reported on it.
"I have never and would never authorize this," said Ostrow, adding he had no hint that Amundsen was doing it.
Ellison declined to say whether he believed Ostrow wasn't involved.
"I'm not going to speculate on what Paul knew or when he knew it," Ellison said. "I'm not going to question motives or anything like that, I'm just going to leave it where it is. I'm glad that Mr. Amundsen is no longer a part of his campaign."
Ellison is the DFL-endorsed candidate in the Fifth District congressional race, and Ostrow is among three candidates challenging him in the primary.
Amundsen did not return phone calls or respond to e-mail Thursday seeking comment. But his resignation appears to link him to a much broader and mysterious e-mail campaign against Ellison since early this summer that also circulated information about his campaign finance violations over several years.
In that e-mail campaign, the anonymous writer copied campaign finance records documenting the violations and sent them in June from the e-mail address "firstname.lastname@example.org."
In denying any knowledge of Amundsen's role in circulating negative information about Ellison, Ostrow said Thursday, "The policy of my campaign from Day One has been we would respond to published reports, and that's what we have done."
In July, a day after the Star Tribune reported on the campaign finance violations circulated by britishflyonthewall, Ostrow held a news conference to say he was "deeply concerned about Rep. Ellison's repeated ethical and legal lapses." Ostrow also called on Ellison to explain himself or be considered unfit for the office.
I'm sure going through the Drama Queen's archives would be an exercise in determining timeline on this.
The same day, Amundsen, in his role as campaign manager, wrote an item for Ostrow's website calling Ellison a scofflaw.
Amundsen's secret role emerged this week, shortly after the latest e-mails from britishflyonthewall were sent. Two blogs traced it to Amundsen by comparing the Internet Protocol address of a computer associated with the e-mails to an IP address on earlier e-mail Amundsen wrote in his role as campaign manager.
The blogs that wrote about the discovery are at danweinand.com and mnpublius.com.
Ostrow said he talked with Amundsen after learning of the blog reports Wednesday night and asked for his resignation. Ostrow called Ellison on Thursday to tell him about Amundsen.
The latest e-mails that led to Amundsen contained photocopies of police summaries of 911 calls in 2005 by a woman complaining about Ellison. His campaign manager, Dave Colling, said Thursday that police never contacted Ellison about the calls. Colling said the woman was disgruntled because she didn't get a job with a nonprofit group with which Ellison is associated and began harassing him. Ellison got a protection order against her, Colling said.
The Drama Queen is trying to defend himself. His blog is normally a good political gossip blog, but if he continues to get into this type of thing, I'll quit reading it.