Monday, October 27, 2008

Ashley Todd Was Paid Organizer for College Republican National Committee, Not a Volunteer

Ashley Todd, PA Racist Hoax "Victim," Was Paid Organizer for College Republican National Committee, Not a Volunteer |
by Meg White

Last week, a troubled young woman handed the McCain campaign a Willie Horton-style race card, and the media helped them play it.

The attack of a 20-year-old college student was seized upon by the Drudge Report as a "mutilation," and other conservative Web sites as fodder against the surging Obama campaign. Ashley Todd filed a report with the Pittsburgh Police Department alleging a 6'4'' black man robbed her, then carved up her cheek and sexually assaulted her because he saw that she was a McCain supporter. It turns out the story was made up, and that Todd's black eye and the backwards B scratched into her cheek were most likely self-inflicted.

Something was missed in the reporting of the story, however. Though Todd was an employee of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) -- as confirmed today to BuzzFlash by a representative there named Ethan Eioln -- nearly every report demoted her to the role of volunteer. In fact, she was hired by the CRNC and promised a contract wage of $3,600 from August until Election Day. After she was charged by police for filing a false report, her employment with the CRNC was terminated.

The CRNC separated from the Republican National Committee in 2001, becoming a Section 527 organization. But as recent experience with 527s shows, that doesn't mean that significant ties were cut. The Center for Public Integrity called it one of the most successful youth-oriented fundraisers in the country, noting the more than $10.6 million it raised in a span of two years. The CRNC is clearly a major player for the Republican National Committee, receiving $25,000 from the RNC in 2002. The Center for Public Integrity also notes that most of the money raised by the group is spent on direct mail efforts and paying field representatives such as Todd.

The insistence by Drudge and others that Todd was a volunteer seems to be a calculated move to distance Todd from both the CRNC and the McCain campaign. There is no proof of any collusion between Todd and the CRNC or the McCain/Palin ticket. But it is clear that the campaign saw it as an opportunity, and ran with it...

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