With boss under fire, Marino aide hedges on DOJ letter’s existence
In April, Republican congressional candidate Tom Marino told a talk-show radio host that he had permission from the Department of Justice to give a reference for a businessman’s gaming application, even as his U.S. Attorney’s office was investigating the same businessman. His campaign manager said a letter documenting that authorization would be released.
Then, months of silence followed, even as the radio host and Marino’s opponent pressured the 10th District candidate to release the letter. That silence was broken only last week, but was quickly undercut: Marino said he wasn’t authorized to release documents from his tenure as U.S. Attorney, but The Associated Press reported that a document supposedly granting him permission to give businessman Louis DeNaples the reference doesn’t even exist.
Now, Marino’s campaign appears to be retreating from the situation and hunkering down, hoping to ride out any fallout and shift the focus back to incumbent Democrat Chris Carney. To that end, Marino campaign’s itself implied to a local newspaper late last week that the much-talked-about letter might not exist.
“I don’t recall Mr. Marino ever referring specifically to a document from the Department of Justice that gave him permission to give a reference,” spokesman Jason Fitzgerald told The Suz-Gazette.
But in two statements during the 24 hours preceding Fitzgerald’s comments, Marino himself had alluded to “documents” in which he was given permission to be a reference for DeNaples. It’s unclear exactly what the Marino campaign’s official stance is in the aftermath of the Associated Press report: Fitzgerald did not return about half-a-dozen messages seeking comment Friday and Monday.
“Tom Marino must come clean and admit that there never was a letter to begin with,” Carney campaign spokesman Josh Drobnyk said in a statement Monday. “Even after a definitive report that says the Justice Department has no record of Marino getting permission before providing a personal reference for a felon, Tom Marino continues to spin lies. In the space of hours he and his campaign said there were documents and then that there may not be. Marino needs to stop lying and tell the truth.”
September 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm