THE BLOG
08/15/2006 11:59 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Is the FBI Investigating the Lieberman Campaign?

Totally honest question: will Joe Lieberman's Senate campaign be prosecuted by federal authorities? As you may recall, the Lieberman campaign accused Ned Lamont's campaign of hacking its website on election day. Lieberman's campaign has since admitted it had no evidence to support the claim. The major verifiable evidence that has been uncovered (here and here) shows that Lieberman's campaign skimped on its web service, and that its claims of losing email service on election day may have been lies. And as TPM Muckraker reported, the FBI said that if Lieberman's hacking allegations prove false, "the FBI and federal prosecutors could pursue charges against those who reported them." Specifically, if the charges were fabricated to slander the Lamont campaign, "there's Title 18, Section 1001, which is providing false statements to an FBI agent. That can be prosecuted at the discretion of the U.S. Attorney's Office."

Lieberman campaign spokesman Dan Gerstein has a long record of issuing public lies, as documented by Media Matters. And let's be clear - this is no small issue. Making deliberately dishonest claims about a campaign supposedly engaging in Watergate-style tactics goes beyond just the usual tit-for-tat and into pretty serious legal areas. Yes, yes, I know Gerstein has said slandering other Democrats as terrorist sympathizers "is what campaigns are all about" - but clearly, the law is pretty straightforward when it comes to making deliberately dishonest election day charges of fraud. Put in Gerstein's language, the law says that's "not what campaigns are all about" and, in fact, could land people in jail.

So again, not knowing if anyone has conclusively figured out why Lieberman's campaign website died on election day, my honest question: is the Lieberman campaign going to be prosecuted by federal authorities if their hacking charges prove false?