An incident in which a Republican video tracker was thrown out of a Democratic Senate candidate's fundraiser has exploded in the days since, with allegations of harassment and assault by the fundraiser's host.
(Scroll down for the fundraiser video.)
The woman who allowed the tracker into her building, where the fundraiser for Illinois' Alexi Giannoulias was held, is accusing Michael Kosmas, the D.C. political operative behind the event, of aggressively confronting her later that night.
According to POLITICO, the woman "accused Kosmas and several other individuals of showing up at her door later that evening, around 11:00 pm, and confronting her 'using inappropriate and threatening terms.'"
The article goes on:
The accusing resident did not open the door at the time but was later escorted by a building security guard to Kosmas' condominium to complain, according to accounts by both parties.
According to a letter sent to the Giannoulias campaign by the woman's attorney, Bobby Burchfield, Kosmas "would not commit to refrain from repeating the situation" and the woman was "knocked on her shoulder" as she walked past him.
Kosmas disputes her account of the story in a letter:
Following the event I went and complained at the unit whose occupant allowed the videographer upon my roof. She did not answer her door, but instead came to my door with the building security guard a few moments later to complain I was harassing her. The security guard told her in no uncertain terms that if her guests violate building rules, I have an absolute right to go to her unit and complain. Unsatisfied with the guard's explanation, she then summoned a District of Columbia police officer, who gave her the exact same answer.
Still, Republicans have not hesitated to use the incident to add to their portrait of Giannoulias as an unscrupulous, strong-arming Chicago politician.
Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for Giannoulias' opponent, Republican Mark Kirk, said, "We call on Alexi Giannoulias to immediately apologize for his campaign affiliates' intimidation tactics, publicly identify all those involved and terminate all association with them."
The state GOP made it a women's issue, writing, "I hope some of Alexi Giannoulias' supporters like Dick Durbin and Jan Schakowsky will have the courage to stand with me in condemning all acts of violence, bullying, intimidation and harassment of women by a political campaign or their supporters."
And the National Republican Senatorial Committee played a card it's been playing for some time: "Instead of demonstrating leadership by stepping up and denouncing this kind of inappropriate activity, mob banker Alexi Giannoulias simply embraced the Chicago way and condoned it. The people of Illinois deserve better than a mob banker who is willing to turn a blind eye to any type of predatory harassment, intimidation, or violence."
The Capitol Fax blog reports that Giannoulias' campaign is not commenting on the matter.
But Kosmas, a long-time lobbyist who has worked with both Democrats and Republicans, is distributing a letter from one of his long-time employers, retired congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley, Republican of Maryland. Bentley has harsh words for Kosmas' critics:
For the record, Mr. Kosmas spent nearly a decade as my Congressional aide, and managed many of my successful re-election races to the U.S. House. He served a four year term as elected member of the Republican Central Committee of Maryland. He has donated thousands of dollars to Republican candidates over the years, including myself, Bob Ehrlich, Michael Steele, Susan Collins, Dan Burton, Duncan Hunter and others.
I am disgusted that the reward for Mr. Kosmas efforts for so many Republicans over the years is to have political operatives trespass into his home when he does an event for a member of the other party. The Kirk for Senate campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee owe Mr. Kosmas an apology.
So far, no such apology has materialized.
Watch the video of the tracker being thrown out by Kosmas and others: