Kean’s Vile Ad/Campaign
Sex gets your attention.
So it’s probably no surprise that it’s playing a role in the CD-7 campaign between Tom Malinowski and Republican challenger Thomas H. Kean Jr.
This has nothing to do with anything Malinowski has done in the 21 months he’s been in the House.
To grasp what’s happening, we must return to 2006 when Malinowski worked for Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental agency that advocates for human rights all over the world.
An ad for Kean by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) says that at that time, Malinowski lobbied on behalf of sex offenders. Specifically, he is accused of opposing the creation of a national registry for sex offenders.
This is an explosive charge. Few individuals are as publicly abhorred as those who prey on children.
But here are some of the problems with it.
Malinowski’s expertise is – and has been – in foreign affairs. This was purely a domestic issue. Some of his former colleagues have said the now-congressman had nothing to do with domestic issues.
There’s also a question about the substance of the allegation. Believe it or not, there are nuances when it comes to who should register as a sex offender. For example, should it include public urination, given the fact the offender displays his private parts to whomever can see them. It was those concerns that formed the basis of the Human Rights Watch lobbying effort.
It is understood that such distinctions are never part of political attack ads. That’s a given and both parties are culpable.
Still, accusing someone of backing sex predators without any real evidence is especially vile.
The Malinowski campaign says the charge has led to death threats.
There is an interesting sub-plot here. The protecting sexual predators allegation ties into the conspiracy theories of QAnon, a group firmly-planted in the lunatic wing of the far-right. The group believes that the world is run by Satanic forces who kidnap and sexually abuse children. As the saying goes, there truly are things you can’t make up.
By coincidence perhaps, Malinowski just held a virtual public meeting to condemn the group.
One national media fact-checker gave the NRCC ad “four Pinocchios.”
The Malinowski campaign, not surprisingly, says the ad “reveals nothing about Congressman Malinowski and everything about Kean’s character and his fitness for office.”
The campaign also released a letter from six local Republicans denouncing the ad.
“The accusation is false. What’s more, the ad plays into and amplifies a dangerous current of fear in our politics, which is turning Americans against one another and distracting us from the real challenges our country faces,” the letter says.
It is signed by Mayor Richard Wolfe of East Amwell, Mayor Rob Greenbaum of Mount Olive, Councilwoman Betty Anne Fort of Readington, Former Mayor William Muller of Peapack-Gladstone, Former Mayor Michelle Garay of Alexandria and Former Mayor Nick Corcodilos of Clinton Township.
We asked the Kean campaign for comment around 5 p.m. Thursday and there has been no response.
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Consultants come up with this stuff, always looking to conjure up a negative no matter how obscure the issue or how far they have to reach to make it appear to be a negative. It is ultimately the responsibility of the candidate and campaign manager to authorize the use of the material. If the ad is from an independent third-party, they must denounce inaccuracies and call for the cessation. Which, in itself could have been a strategy, but Jr.’s campaign is too inept to deal with the situation. Malinowski ate Jr.’s lunch on this one.
We are living in a world where people want to believe what they want to believe and do not care about the facts (truth). It has been well-documented that Malinowski did not have anything to do with the situation involving Human Rights Watch.
Even if he had been, did Human Rights Watch doing anything wrong? We have a sex offense registry in this country that all research is showing is not working. Even the U. S. Department of Justice’s research is not able to show that it is helping prevent sex crimes.
What does research show?
The recidivism rate (committing another sex offense) after serving time in prison is very low, with hundreds of thousands of registrants in this country having committed a one-time-only sex offense and are working hard to reintegrate back into society successfully as law-abiding citizens.
No research has been able to show that the registration laws or community residency and exclusion laws are working.
Approximately 90% of FUTURE sex crimes will be committed by people NOT on the registry.
Over 90% of victims know their perpetrators, so the “stranger danger” preached by politicians and media are a myth.
Human Rights Watch is correct: There are many people on the registry for whom the registry was never intended. Patty Wetteringly, the mother who helped to jumpstart Congress into starting the registry, has said that the registry has been hijacked because it includes too many people for whom she never intended to be on the registry. She only intended it to be for people like the man who abducted, raped, and killed her son.
According to the California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB), this country spends anywhere from 10 to 40 billion dollars a year to maintain and monitor the registry — a registry where the majority of people never commit another sex offense. The money would be far better spent using research-based risk assessments to find who truly is a danger to society, and on education, prevention, awareness, and victims’ services.
The Human Rights Watch is correct about the registry. There are people on there for public urination, juveniles who sent an inappropriate picture of themselves to a friend through a text (distribution of child pornography), 20-year-old males who had consensual sex with their 15-year-old girlfriend whom they married once released from prison, juveniles for “mooning”, people with autism, grandfathers with dementia, and the list goes on and on.
So, yes, Malinowski had nothing to do with any of this, but this country would be better off if political leaders began looking at what research shows us.