Hillary Clinton finds herself embroiled in a fresh controversy after it was revealed that an anti-Sanders op-ed column attributed to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was actually written by a pro-Clinton corporate lobbyist, according to Intercept.
The column, titled “Why I think Hillary Clinton is the right choice,” was published on CNN.com in February this year ahead of the Georgia primary. In the column, Reed attacks Vermont senator Bernie Sanders for being out of step with Democrats on several issues, and extends his support to Clinton on the basis of her track record.
He writes that he cannot support Sanders because the Vermont senator has long been at odds with President Barack Obama.
“We need a strong Democrat who can break down barriers for more people while building on Obama’s legacy, which is why I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.
“Her opponent, Bernie Sanders, has opposed the President on issue after issue. In 2011, while still an Independent, he even called for a primary challenge to Obama. While he was in the House, Sanders’ gun control record contradicted what Obama supports today. Sanders’ record is simply not strong when compared to Obama and Clinton, both of whom have prioritized reducing gun violence in our cities and across our country.”
According to a new exclusive report, however, it has now been revealed that the Atlanta mayor did not have much to with the op-ed column. Emails released from Reed’s office indicate that the piece was primarily penned by a corporate lobbyist, and was edited by a pro-Clinton Super PAC called Correct the Record.
Anne Torres, Reed’s director of communications, told Intercept earlier this month that the column was not written by the mayor, but by a pro-Clinton corporate lobbyist named Tharon Johnson, who was formerly Reed’s adviser, and now works as a lobbyist for UnitedHealth, Honda, and MGM Resorts, among other clients.
According to Torres’ own confession, Reed only provided verbal edits, but approved the article to be published in his name. Reed “provided verbal edits and feedback to Tharon, but other than that, no one from my office or the mayor’s office wrote this op-ed,” said Torres.
An email accessed by the media organization shows that Torres was introduced to Daniel Wessel, a press secretary for Correct the Record, by Johnson.
A day before the column was to be published, Torres wrote an email to Wessel, asking for the “final version.” She also attached Reed’s headshot and a short bio, before adding, “Let me know if you need anything else.”
Later, Correct the Record staffers made changes to the draft.
This is not the first time that Hillary Clinton or Correct the Record, which was founded by Republican-turned-Democratic strategist David Brock, has engaged in below-the-belt tactics to attack Bernie Sanders. Last month, Inquisitr reported about Correct the Record sponsoring a digital task force, called Barrier Breakers 2016, whose purpose was to “correct” online commentary against Hillary Clinton.
The task force, as the report points out, consisted of “former reporters, bloggers, public affairs specialists, designers, Ready for Hillary alumni, and Hillary super fans,” and aimed to push back against Clinton’s attackers on social media and micro-blogging sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, among others.
The latest email revelation provides another example of some of the murky tactics employed by pro-Clinton groups to taint and attack Bernie Sanders. Only time will tell if the Democratic front-runner is held accountable for such actions.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]