EXCLUSIVE: E-mail Reveals That McConnell Staffer Propagated Smear Campaign Against Graeme Frost

Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported that there was mounting evidence that a staffer for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may have been involved in the right-wing campaign to smear Graeme Frost and his family.

ABC News reported earlier in the week that an e-mail sent to reporters by “a Senate Republican leadership aide” in McConnell’s office suggested that “GOP aides were complicit in spreading disparaging information about the Frosts.” A McConnell spokesman refused to deny the office’s involvement in the affair.

ThinkProgress has obtained an email that congressional sources tell us was sent to reporters by Sen. McConnell’s communications director Don Stewart.

On Monday morning, Don Stewart sent an email with the following text to reporters:

Seen the latest blogswarm? Apparently, there’s more to the story on the kid (Graeme Frost) that did the Dems’ radio response on SCHIP. Bloggers have done a little digging and turned up that the Dad owns his own business (and the building it’s in), seems to have some commercial rental income and Graeme and a sister go to a private school that, according to its website, costs about $20k a year “¹for each kid”¹ despite the news profiles reporting a family income of only $45k for the Frosts. Could the Dems really have done that bad of a job vetting this family?

In the email, Stewart attacks Democrats for allegedly doing a bad job “vetting this family.” That effort to blame Democrats for the smear campaign seems to have swayed some reporters, as CNN this morning claimed that the real story is that “the Democrats didn’t do as much of a vetting as they could have done.”


The New York Times reported yesterday that “an aide” to Sen. McConnell “expressed relief that his office had not issued a press release criticizing the Frosts.” No, what the McConnell staffer did was worse — he used the power and privilege of the Senate office to secretly propagate a baseless smear campaign against a 12-year old boy and his family simply because they disagreed on policy.

UPDATE: Yesterday, right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin took us to task for suggesting McConnell’s office was involved:

Snort-worthy conspiracy theory of the day…The tinfoil hatters at ThinkProgress actually believes conservative bloggers were in cahoots with Mitch McConnell, whom I lambasted below. The unreality-based community really does live in a different galaxy.

We await her response.

UPDATE II: Malkin responds. Unsurprisingly, the McConnell staffer doesn’t meet Malkin’s standard of being “involved” in the campaign.

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