The campaign of Democratic Attorney General candidate Patrick Miles used Republican research to attack his Democratic opponent Dana Nessel. That’s a fact and we have the evidence to back it up. It’s also unprecedented.
The research comes from RAGA or the Republican Attorneys General Association. This group created a 40-page document about Nessel’s campaign and their plan of attack against it — including a 39-page-long overview of Miles’ campaign. The issue is not the questions the opposition research raises. It’s the conduct of the Miles campaign in bringing it forward and promoting it, or “shopping” it, to media outlets.
Had the campaign said, “here’s this opposition research from the Republicans. This is how they are going to attack Dana and we should talk about that,” it would have been fair game to put the information out, but that is not what they did. The campaign shopped the details from the RAGA opposition research as their own findings, purposely without attribution.
Now, the Miles team is simply refusing to answer legitimate questions about its actions.
Instead, the campaign has unleashed a torrent of social media attacks, with Miles’ spokeswoman Jen Eyer calling our reporting “ridiculous” and “a joke.” Their defense fell short when they pointed to an article in Deadline Detroit — which cited RAGA’s information against Nessel without identifying the source. It was published more than 24 hours after they shopped the information to Between The Lines.
They’ve even decided to double down on the GOP-like tactic of painting Nessel with the responsibility for her law partner’s defense of people accused of sex crimes in court. It’s an undeniably sleazy tactic that feeds into a moral sex panic and, in this instance, subconsciously links Nessel, who is lesbian, to being a pro-sex predator because she’s queer. And the problem with that is that in some narrow minds in this state, queers are all perverts who are one step away from being sex predators
Nessel’s law partner, Chris Kessel, was doing his job. He was providing the Constitutionally-protected vigorous defense to which every single person accused of a crime in the U.S. is entitled.
Now, the Miles campaign is going to trot out two victims of Dr. Larry Nassar’s horrific crimes to bolster this message. The two women will speak at a press conference at 2:30 in Lansing today.
But before they do, the Miles campaign must come clean. They have an obligation to answer the questions they were sent by Between The Lines 24 hours ago:
- Your own press release highlights information reported on Deadline Detroit. Did anyone from the Miles Campaign share that information with Deadline Detroit as it was revealed online in the Republican Attorneys General Association opposition research file?
- You have specifically cited tweets by RAGA regarding Mr. Miles’ campaign finance complaint. In addition, you posted today on Facebook a defense noting the RAGA information was “publicly available.” When did the Miles campaign become aware of the RAGA opposition books against both Nessel and Miles?
- The attack lines cite Nessel’s firm’s website as evidence of a “soft on sex predators” approach, but the information is actually about the actions of her law partner Kessel. Mr. Miles has been attacked for working for various law firms with anti-union leanings and you’ve defended against those attacks. Considering that, is this a fair attack against Nessel? If so, would it be appropriate to paint Mr. Miles as anti-union because of his work at law firms with anti-union information?
- Isn’t the use of the “publicly available” RAGA data in this battle exactly what the GOP wants — to divide and conquer the party and have them walk out of the convention divided? Why or why not? How does Mr. Miles propose to bridge a divide if he is not the nominee and has used this attack point?
- The Miles opposition book also contains issues of concern. What is the campaign’s response to Mr. Miles backing the refusal of social security to provide a man with disability benefits? Does this show that Mr. Miles will not defend the disabled? Why or why not?
- The book also uses the same tactic against Miles as it does against Nessel, linking him to controversial racial issues by citing his publication as an editor of other people’s work. Is this a fair attack line? And if so how? If not, why not?
- Mr. Miles has said he is not a strong candidate, according to that opposition research. I have heard regularly that many who have seen him speak have the same perception, that he is weak at presentation skills. Is that a fair assessment, and how will Mr. Miles overcome the perception of being lackluster?
Without addressing these very real issues, the Miles campaign is showing it’s not interested in truth, fairness or justice. Instead, it shows that it is interested in win-at-all-costs, scorched-earth tactics.