Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Blue Dog Leonard Boswell (IA) Suing Progressive Leader For Defamation Of Character


Leonard Boswell (D-IA), candid

A couple days ago, an analyst for one of the more trusted DC progressive groups told me they had decided to endorse Leonard Boswell in his very tight race in Des Moines. I was flabbergasted. "He's a Blue Dog and a complete corporate whore," I asserted. She said that Boswell has told her he might leave the Blue Dog caucus and that he's moving in a more progressive direction and that he really needed the endorsement. I think they got played. According to ProgressivePunch, when it comes to crucial roll calls, Boswell has moved further right lately. His miserable lifetime voting score (59.83) is actually somewhat better than his voting score for 2011-12 (52.76). Iowa isn't some kind of backward conservative hellhole by any means, especially not his district. First of all, the state keeps reelecting on of the most progressive senators in America, Tom Harkin. And Iowa's other two Democratic congressmen, Bruce Braley (86.39) and Dave Loebsack (68.35) have considerably better, more pro-working family voting scores than Boswell. All three districts voted for Obama over McCain in 2008 A couple of weeks ago we ran a post in which Des Moines progressive icon, Ed Fallon, explained why he couldn't bring himself to vote for Boswell and why he was urging his supporters to write-in the name of Des Moines' progressive mayor, Frank Cownie. He laid out 5 reasons why progressives should let Boswell lose. The first reason, though, sent shockwaves through Des Moines' Democratic community-- and caused Boswell to initiate a law suit.
Lack of integrity. Perhaps you have your own stories. I have heard some of them. Mine include Boswell sending an aide to bribe me with the offer of an $80,000 a-year job to not run against him. The aide also told me that Boswell was so in love with power that he had "become like Gollum with the ring." The 2008 campaign itself was brutal, and it seemed there were no lies or half-truths that Boswell and his operatives would not stoop to.
This week, Fallon tell us, Boswell's lawsuit charges that "Defendant Fallon knew the statements were false and defamatory and acted in reckless disregard for the truth."
Wow! Exactly whose character is being defamed? In my work as a public servant, I have always spoken my mind, advocated for truth, and operated with fairness and civility toward everyone. I say with confidence that I have never knowingly spoken falsely in any matter relating to my public work.

I stand by what I have said. Two individuals met with me the first week of January 2008 offering me a job with Congressman Boswell's district office doing unspecified constituent service work for $80,000 per year. The first person approached me as a third-party, associated with neither campaign, and was someone I had met only recently. The second person who approached me held (or had held recently) a significant position in the Congressman's office. It seemed clear to me that these individuals would not have been able to offer such a position without Congressman Boswell's blessing.

I would have been content to let my commentary of two weeks ago be the end of the matter. But with Congressman Boswell suing me - and stating in so many words that I am a liar - I have no choice but to fight back.

So what happens next? My attorney, Joseph Glazebrook (who successfully defended me in my Occupy trial), is working with me to file an appropriate response to the lawsuit, and that should be ready later this week.
Boswell denies he ever tried to bribe Fallon and Fallon has 3 witnesses that he did. Meanwhile Boswell and Tom Latham are neck and neck in the incumbent vs incumbent race in the new 3rd congressional district. Boswell's only hope of a victory are tied up in how strong President Obama's coattails will be in Iowa.

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