People may recall that Politico published a story several days ago cataloging what appears to be a somewhat alarming trend: to wit, videos showing ostensible ‘tracking’ of Republican candidates by individuals. I say ostensible because the way that the videos come across are as rather obsessive stalking of said candidates. For example: while it is understood that a candidate will be followed around, casing a candidates’s house from several different angles (account name: WI08RawFootage) or deliberately putting another candidate’s address (account name: AR01RawFootage) online, is generally considered to be, well, creepy. And that’s what is happening.
Now here’s the thing. As Politico noted, the DCCC itself is apparently “unapologetic” about these activities, and ready to justify this practice:
House Republicans have spent this entire Congress trying to hide that they’re protecting benefits for millionaires and perks for themselves instead of protecting the middle class, but we won’t let them keep it secret any longer,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Jesse Ferguson wrote in an email. Democratic officials said placing the videos on the DCCC’s website and YouTube serve a useful purpose, most notably making the footage available to friendly outside groups for use in TV commercials. That way, they don’t violate laws against coordinating with those groups.
Which is a very interesting statement, and one which will be revisited in a little bit… because there’s something that Politico didn’t catch: the accounts that Politico found have been sanitized.
Just not well enough.
Background: Republican Ricky Gill is running for office in CA-09 against transplanted incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney. It’s considered to be a competitive race, which suggests a certain amount of shenanigans might be expected. Well, back in May of 2012 the Gill campaign reported to the Daily Caller that several videos had been shot of Ricky Gill’s movements (and one of his house). These videos had been removed from the Internet (but not before they had been copied), and if you watch the video you can see why: the first segment has audio commentary in it that suggests that the cameraman (and accomplice) was trying to get the license plate numbers of a car parked at Gill’s house; and the second and the third segments make it clear that the the cameraman was trying to film Ricky Gill without being seen doing so. In the second segment the cameraman is shadowing Gill, not following him; and in the third there’s a point where the cameraman apparently hides the camera. In other words, there’s a good indication that whoever sent the people who filmed these segments recognized that lines had been crossed, and sanitized the record in order to get rid of the really awkward footage.
But who actually did the filming?
Well, if you look at the existing footage for YouTube account “CA09RawFootage” – note the similar name format to that of the YouTube accounts featured in the Politico stalking article – you will find this video titled “Gill, 11-28-11 Boalt School of Law, Berkeley.wmv.” Compare this screenshot of the CA09RawFootage video:
…with this one from the Daily Caller video:
Same location, same time of year, looks like same stakeout point. That either must have been a crowded place, with multiple people taking footage of the same candidate (and note the date: this was back in 2011, when most people really weren’t paying attention to the election) – or it’s the same people taking footage on different days. And, actually… we have another piece of the puzzle. RedState has been provided the following screenshots from a source aware of the DC article:
Note that the YouTube account name is the same – CA09RawFootage – and that the date on the second video (11/28/2011) was the same one as the Gill, 11-28-11 Boalt School of Law video mentioned above. In other words, these videos appeared to be part of the CA09RawFootage account, but were removed sometime between the Ricky Gill campaign noticing their existence, and the Daily Caller article reporting on them. All of this is important because the DCCC did not take responsibility for these specific videos: “Representatives for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the liberal group American Bridge — the George Soros-funded group that sends trackers to follow Republicans — did not respond to inquiries asking them if they are behind the videos.” And yet – and yet, again – when Politico reported on this story, the DCCC apparently felt comfortable admitting that the less overtly disquieting ‘tracking’ videos fell under their aegis. Admittedly, Politico never came out and asked directly whether the DCCC had commissioned the videos featured by the Daily Caller… but then, Politico might not have actually known that there was a connection.
I attempted to contact Jesse Ferguson of the DCCC – he who justified filming people’s houses to Politico as “We won’t let them keep it secret any longer” – to get a clarification on all of this; my call was not returned at the time of publication. Draw your own conclusions from that.
Moe Lane (crosspost)