Monday, August 16, 2010

Paul Bauer Accuses Talk Show Hosts Dan Fagan And Dave Stieren Of Politically Blackmailing The Joe Miller Senate Campaign

For the first time, Paul Bauer, who is the former campaign manager for Alaska Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller, has spoken out about the circumstances of his August 13th resignation from the campaign. While he remains a supporter of Joe Miller, he has taken dead aim at those he believes are responsible for the situation. The culprits -- two of Anchorage's conservative radio hosts, Dan Fagan and Dave Stieren.

Bauer sent an e-mail press release to several local media outlets and bloggers, including myself, in which he accuses Fagan and Stieren of collusion in an attempt to politically blackmail the Miller campaign. It revolves around the YouTube video of a confrontation between Bauer's wife Debbie and Dave Stieren at McGinley's Bar in Anchorage on August 11th, 2010. As Alaska Dispatch previously reported, the origin of all of this was a dispute between Bauer and the University of Alaska-Anchorage (UAA) College Republicans, in which Bauer accused the UAA group of violating their neutrality charter by becoming "cheerleaders" for Lisa Murkowski because they held a meet-and-greet for her. The UAA group denied the allegation, saying that they would have done the same for Joe Miller had he contacted them. The press release from Paul Bauer, also posted on Alaska Dispatch, is cross-posted in its entirety below (after the jump):

August 16, 2010

Radio talk show host blackmails Miller Campaign

Former campaign manager calls for state and federal investigation

Anchorage, Alaska — Last Wednesday night, August 11, 2010, Anchorage radio talk show host David Stieren from Morris Communications along with University of Alaska College Republicans students and President, Ryan McKee, a paid staffer for Lisa Murkowski, trapped Miller staffer, Matt Johnson outside the pub they were at, and showed him a video on an IPhone of a personal conversation that took place between a Joe Miller for U.S. Senate volunteer and David Stieren. The video showed a woman in her 50’s chastising Stieren for what she heard was a character assassination of her husband on an earlier talk show. The woman was the wife of Miller's campaign manager, Paul Bauer.

Stieren, an amateur radio talk show host and supporter of Miller’s opponent, Lisa Murkowski, told Johnson; “That if you don’t fire Paul Bauer, this will go on the air.”

According to Paul Bauer, now former campaign manager for Joe Miller since Friday August 13, the David Stieren Facebook pages show that immediately after the incident between midnight and to the early hours of the next morning, conversations between Stieren and UAA College Republicans were bragging about what occurred and Stieren was saying stay tuned for more to come. The inference was that the Stieren show was going to talk about the video on the air no matter what, according to Bauer.

Another talk show host who supports Lisa Murkowski and employee with Morris Communication, Dan Fagan took the video from the UAA College Republicans and aired it on his media blog The Alaska Standard, and spent several hours on his radio talk show mischaracterizing the event and person involved on the same day.

I am appalled that FCC licensed talk show hosts can literally conspire to change the course of a federal election by using the airways in the way they did, and blackmail a federal candidate’s campaign, Bauer said. There was definite collusion between Morris Communications radio talk show hosts David Stieren and Dan Fagan, with UAA College Republicans conspiring to air the video and force the Joe Miller campaign staff into a compromising position with the intent to disrupt and influence a federal election campaign, Bauer said. Furthermore, the conversation between the campaign manager's wife which was disclosed several times by her in the video that this conversation was between two people, had nothing to do with the Miller campaign; was video graphed by non-participants, the UAA College Republicans, then aired the video to the public without permission with the intent to degrade and intimidate persons, and used against Joe Miller Bauer said. Bauer believes this is a violation of privacy rights and federal elections campaign rules, and is calling for a state and federal investigation into the matter. Bauer also said that he has concerns on how UAA club funds may be used to enhance political agendas without the full disclosure and approval from its members. Stieren showed the video to Johnson; and went on to say to have Joe Miller call him (Stieren).

At this point, it should be noted that there is NO evidence that Lisa Murkowski is personally involved in this kerfuffle or is even aware of the details.

According to Alaska Dispatch, Dave Stieren said the encounter outside McGinley's was considerably less conspiratorial than Bauer described it. According to Stieren, as he and McKee [Ryan McKee, the UAA College Republicans president and a paid Murkowski staffer] were leaving the bar the Miller staffer approached them and asked if he could watch the video. After about two minutes the Miller staffer asked what the campaign could do about the video. Stieren said he wasn't telling them what to do, but that he didn't think Bauer was a very good campaign manager. Later, Stieren told the Anchorage Daily News that he never offered not to play the recording on the air in return for Bauer being fired. He said that, as a talk radio host with a five-week-old show, he would never bury such good material.

Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto responded to Bauer's version of events with an email to ADN saying that "this is not true."

Whether the state or Feds would respond to a demand for an investigation would likely be influenced by the outcome of the election. If the election is close, the urgency would be greater. But if Murkowski wins by 20 points or more, this brief brouhaha will not be seen as having changed the outcome of the election, since Murkowski at last count was leading by over 30 points. Still, Watergate started out as only a third-rate burglary...

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