The Washington Post says that Republican Bob Hugin’s new TV ad attacking Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republican is riddled with lies.
“To accuse a rival candidate of maybe sleeping with underage prostitutes, solid evidence is an absolute must. The evidence for Hugin’s ad fails the test. There’s nothing new in the ad except for a dark descent into corrosive haze,” wrote Salvador Rizzo, a former New Jersey political reporter who now works for the Post’s Fact Checker unit.
The Post Fact Checker gave the Hugin ad “four Pinocchios.”
When fact checking TV ads and other statements made by candidates, the post uses the Pinocchio Test, which awards one to four Pinocchios, based on factual accuracy. Four is the worst rating Hugin could have received.
According to the Post, the Hugin ad alleged that the FBI had ‘evidence’ that Menendez had sex with underage prostitutes, but failed to attribute this to an anonymous source whose identity the FBI failed to uncover.
“Also absent from the ad: The FBI said in the same affidavit that it could not identify any minors based on the information Williams provided. Also absent: The fact that the FBI did not lay out a basis for probable cause that Menendez engaged underage sex workers,” Rizzo wrote. “Also absent: The Justice Department did not charge these allegations. Also absent: The Washington Post reported that the FBI investigated in the Dominican Republic and found no evidence. Also absent: The Post reported on intelligence received by U.S. officials that the Cubans made up Peter Williams as part of a cloak-and-dagger operation to tar Menendez, a political foe.”
Rizzo called these details “crucial, mitigating information; none of it is new this year.”
Still, the Post appeared to agree that Hugin is right in saying the public has a right to know all the facts about the federal investigation.
Menendez, a two-term Democrat, is holding a press conference today to address Hugin’s ad directly. He will be joined by several woman elected officials and activists, including National Organization for Women (NOW) New Jersey president Deb Huber and Elizabeth Meyer, the founder of the New Jersey Women’s March.