Talk radio host Mark Levin is not very happy with my report yesterday on Christine O'Donnell's $6.9 million gender discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, a conservative group called the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. In the 2005 lawsuit, O'Donnell alleged that ISI caused her to suffer severe "mental anguish" by demoting and firing her. O'Donnell also falsely implied in the lawsuit that she was taking master's degree classes at Princeton.
On his Facebook page, Levin defends O'Donnell on many questions raised by yesterday's report (more on that in a moment), but he remains silent on O'Donnell's claim that Castle supporters may have broken into and vandalized O'Donnell's home and office and stole files in 2008. (There was no police report.)
In response to a round of emails Levin initiated with me last week, I asked Levin, O'Donnell's biggest defender, if he cared to defend her against those who claimed she was "delusional" and "paranoid" on these points. Levin replied: "That's ok."
In response to Levin's criticism on Facebook, I emailed him last night while waiting for Mike Castle to show up at Katherine Rooney's Irish Pub in Wilmington:
I contacted O'Donnell's campaign Saturday afternoon to get a response regarding her claim that she was attending master's degree classes at Princeton and ISI's actions prevented her from attending, thereby costing her $150,000 in earning power. The campaign responded by saying that in fact she took one undergraduate class and was not in the master's program.
Do you think it is acceptable for O'Donnell to claim she was in the master's program at Princeton, when in fact she only took one undergraduate [non-matriculated] class?
Does O'Donnell's claim that her house was burglarized and vandalized in 2008, perhaps by Castle supporters, lead you to question her honesty at all? Do you find that story plausible? Do you find it concerning that she did not call the police about this burglary?
Levin's response, in full:
Lol. I think you're an ass. You can quote me.
Sent from my iPhone
Since that doesn't offer much to work with, I'll address the rest of his Facebook post. He writes:
Should O'Donnell win Tuesday's primary, the Democrat will be trolling for opposition dirt to use against her, and he need only Google the Weekly Standard and McCormack in particular. There the Democrats will find all the poison they could ever want...
Does Levin really think that this information wouldn't have come to light if I hadn't reported it? Does he think voters don't have the right to know the details of the lawsuit filed by O'Donnell before going to the polls?
Levin goes on:
Should Castle win the primary and the general, then Castle will be just as liberal in the Senate as he was in the House, which is very liberal, where he'll join Snowe, Collins, Lugar, Graham, and others, in a Gang of Whatever. But it's an outcome the Weekly Standard and McCormack dearly desire, as they've spent a great deal of effort to accomplish this goal.
It's a judgment call for conservatives as to how liberal a Republican can get before reasonable conservatives would want to toss said RINO overboard (see Chafee, Lincoln; Weicker, Lowell). Is Castle more of a Lincoln Chafee or a Scott Brown, who would vote to repeal Obamacare and vote to confirm Supreme Court justices like Samuel Alito? Castle seems to be closer to the latter, but that's not entirely clear.
Of course, ideology isn't all that matters. So does character. And O'Donnell has history of having trouble telling the truth, which brings me to Levin's next point:
McCormack emphasizes that O'Donnell's claim that she was to have attended or attempted to attend Princeton's masters program was bogus because she had not received her B.A. yet. I assume if O'Donnell and her attorney knowingly provided false information in a complaint, that ISI, the organization she sued, successfully filed an ethics complaint against her counsel and successfully sought sanctions against O'Donnell from the court for such a deliberate lie.
Levin's assumption appears to be at odds with the facts. I contacted the O'Donnell campaign Saturday afternoon and published the report just before noon on Sunday. The only response came from O'Donnell campaign manager Matt Moran, who wrote that O'Donnell "was not admitted to a Masters Degree program at Princeton. She took an undergraduate non-matriculated class at PU on constitutional government." Moran did not reply to my subsequent email asking why O'Donnell claimed "ISI violated its promise to allow Miss ODonnell time to take Master's degree classes at Princeton," thereby costing her $150,000 in earning power.
So here are the facts: O'Donnell repeatedly referred to taking master's degree classes at Princeton; in fact, she did not, and her campaign has refused to issue a statement trying to explain this apparent falsehood.
Levin goes on:
And what of the mental anguish claim? Well, people who lose their jobs for reasons that they believe are unjust, or even actionable, have been known to suffer mental anguish and allege mental anguish in lawsuits.
True enough. Readers are free to read through O'Donnell's complaint and judge for themselves whether O'Donnell's reaction (even assuming her allegations are all true) is reasonable. According to the complaint submitted by O'Donnell herself:
For at least six months after being fired, Miss O’Donnell suffered enormous pain, cried frequently at the sense of personal loss and failure caused by ISI, and at the sense of injustice, and could not sleep at night, often wide-awake, replaying the whole scene in her mind, until 5:30 am, and has suffered from understandable and resulting depression. [...]
Miss O'Donnell's mother and sister both noticed and spontaneously told her at the time, prior to litigation, that she was differently [sic], and urged her to seek medical evaluation...
As for the alleging gender discrimination, we have no way of knowing the truth about her dismissal. But why does McCormack assume this is illegitimate?
I don't make that assumption. Read the piece.
O'Donnell does not appear to have similar issues or problems generally with other employers. She apparently worked at one time for the conservative group Concerned Women for America. The Concerned Women PAC has endorsed her candidacy and contributed to her campaign against Castle. http://www.cwpac.org/home.aspx
If McCormack is going to write the definitive piece on O'Donnell's work history, why ignore this?
Duly noted. O'Donnell told me she worked at CWA for about a year in the mid-90s. Since that job, O'Donnell was in charge of her own Christian conservative group, the Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth, and then worked for about a year at ISI before being fired in February of 2004. Since then she has made a living by running for Senate three times and doing varying amounts of freelance consulting.
Levin writes that I'm "smearing [O'Donnell] by cherry-picking," but I gave her a chance to respond after I read all 82 pages her court complaints. Perhaps Levin should read the lawsuit in full before he continues to argue about it.