GOP wants full research list

Democrat committee says only Steele's credit report pulled

Maryland

September 23, 2005|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,Sun reporter

In the wake of a revelation that opposition researchers obtained Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's credit report, Republicans yesterday called on the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to release the names of any other candidates whose financial information its staff members may have accessed.

In a letter to the Democrat committee, William J. McGinley, general counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Steele and any other candidates with confidential records that were exposed need to "have the information necessary to take the appropriate steps to protect their private financial data."

Within hours, a DSCC lawyer sent a letter saying the matter was an isolated incident and that its staff members did not obtain any other credit reports.

Officials at the Democratic group, which, like its Republican counterpart, provides support for U.S. Senate candidates, said this week that two staff members obtained Steele's credit report in July. The staffers, DSCC research director Katie Barge and researcher Lauren Weiner, resigned. The committee referred the matter to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C., which is investigating.

"This was a single incident involving two staffers who demonstrated poor judgment," wrote Marc E. Elias, an attorney for the Democratic committee.

Elias added that the DSCC did not notify Steele of the breach because it was asked not to by the U.S. attorney's office and was later told that the FBI would inform Steele of the incident.

The committee took immediate action to ensure that the information from the credit report wasn't used, Elias wrote.

andy.green@baltsun.com

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