Thursday, March 29, 2012

Baltimore Jewish Council Questions Sen. Anthony Muse's Controversial Campaign Flyer // News Coverage Snowballing

FLYERGATE NEWS COVERAGE SNOWBALLS: A few days ago Maryland Juice posted a copy of controversial campaign literature from U.S. Senate candidate Anthony Muse. The State Senator from Prince George's was distributing a sample ballot that urged voters to support an Obama-Muse ticket. Notably, President Obama has endorsed Sen. Ben Cardin for re-election. But more importantly, Muse's literature is generating heated criticism for highlighting the number of Jewish members of the U.S. Senate. Apparently this is not the first time he has employed this tactic.

The Washington Post today picked up the story and noted a non-response from Senator Muse:
Obama may be backing Cardin but that has not stopped Muse from seeking to link himself to the president. His campaign has distributed a “sample ballot” — a copy of which was posted online by the blog Maryland Juice — that says “Obama Muse Making History Together,” with pictures of the two men side by side. The same sample ballot includes a chart showing the composition of the U.S. Senate, noting that the chamber it has no African Americans. The chart also shows that there are 12 Jewish members of the Senate, even though Jews make up roughly 2 percent of the U.S. population. Cardin is Jewish, though the ballot does not mention that fact.

The flier drew criticism this week from the liberal group People for the American Way, which suggested on its blog that the chart “seems to go out of its way to imply there are too many Jews in the Senate. What legitimate reason is there to include a count of Jews in this tally, when there is no count of any other religious group?” Asked about the chart Wednesday, Muse dismissed the criticism.said, “This is nothing more than an attempt to be negative.”

MUSE KEEPS RAISING JEWISH REPRESENTATION, JEWS OFFENDED - The Baltimore Sun's John Fritze today noted that the head of the Baltimore Jewish Council is now questioning Sen. Muse's campaign literature:
The head of the Baltimore Jewish Council raised questions Wednesday about a campaign flyer from Democratic Senate candidate C. Anthony Muse that notes that there are no African-Americans serving in the U.S. Senate but that there are 12 Jews.

Muse, a state senator from Prince George's County is black. He is running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, who is Jewish. The primary takes place Tuesday.

"I'm not happy with it," said Arthur C. Abramson, the council's executive director. "I would ask the candidate why the only religion he identified is Jewish...."

It's a contrast the campaign has drawn previously. Earlier this year Muse used his Twitter account to highlight a link to an article that discussed the number of Jews in the Senate. The campaign later deleted the tweet after it was noted by reporters.

Asked about the flyer, Muse campaign spokeswoman Brandi Calhoun said in an e-mail that it is "misleading and inaccurate, therefore we will have a response to that at the appropriate time."

The campaign did not respond when asked to clarify whether the Muse campaign had actually distributed the flyer or whether a third party was involved.

NO CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS FROM MUSE? - The Baltimore Sun article also notes that Muse's campaign has not filed any campaign finance reports with the FEC:
Muse's campaign, meanwhile, has never filed a campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission as other candidates did last week. Calhoun said that Muse was not required to do so because he established his candidacy in February, late in the cycle. 

It's not clear why Muse's February entrance would exempt him from filing the pre-primary report, which was due March 22. The campaign did not respond to a follow up question seeking clarification.

Maryland Juice would point out that according to Anthony Muse's own campaign website, he became a candidate for the U.S. Senate on January 5th, 2011 and was in exploratory mode prior to that:


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