Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Unmasked: The District 19 Reporter

For an entire year, an anonymous individual known only as “the District 19 Reporter” has been spreading negative information about Senator Mike Lenett (D-19). The “reporter” has accused Lenett of lying, misleading, “caving” to contributors and lobbyists and deliberately sponsoring a bill that was “destined to fail.” All of these accusations were made under the cover of darkness, with the anonymous “reporter” masquerading as a vaguely trustworthy, if shadowy, source.

Now the “reporter” has unmasked herself as Virginia Ramsey, a former employee fired by Lenett. Perhaps this is because her allegations have not penetrated the mainstream media. Or perhaps it is because Lenett’s challenger, Roger Manno, is being blamed for her attacks. (There is no evidence linking Manno to Ramsey.) Or maybe it’s a desperate cry for attention. This is hardly surprising since the District 19 Reporter’s first blast email of July 2009 complained about the termination of an unnamed “66-year-old Legislative Aide,” in other words, Ramsey.

Whether Ramsey’s charges are accurate or not is almost beside the point. If Ramsey was confident about their truth, she would have operated under her own name from the very beginning. Or she could have brought her story to the Post or the Gazette. But instead she chose to hurl mud from the shadows to protect herself from the very accountability she sought for Lenett. Now she crawls, eyes blinking, into the sunlight and expects us not to see the mud splatters on her shirt.

It’s hard enough to get qualified, decent people to run for office. How much harder will it be now that the likes of the District 19 Reporter lie in wait for those who win?