Republican congressional candidate Ed Martin, late Thursday, responded to accusations that he knowingly harbored pedophile priests while working with the Catholic Church in St. Louis, Mo. Martin is challenging Democrat incumbent, Rep. Russ Carnahan, to represent Missouri’s 3rd District.
The accusations against Martin surfaced at the website therealedmartin.com. Its homepage features a six-minute video detailing Martin’s alleged corrupt past, and his involvement in covering up for a known pedophile priest.
At the beginning of the video, set to dramatic background music, the words, “There are those who seek power and influence to improve the lives of ordinary people. And there are others …who protect the powerful and influential at the expense of ordinary people […] A pedophile protected? By whom? And how? And what role did Ed Martin play?”
“This is a lie so awful that I was shocked to learn the connections with Russ Carnahan’s office, but I ought not have been,” said Martin in a written statement. “His inner-circle of supporters have been implying this smear was coming with questions and statements in online forums that ordinarily would not be dignified by a response. We initially wrote this off as overly-zealous volunteers, but now we see that Russ Carnahan’s inner circle of activists were telegraphing the Carnahan campaign strategy.”
The two behind the site are Michael Corwin, a self-described “legal investigator;” and Jeannine Dillon, a former Dateline producer. When contacted by The Daily Caller, Corwin said that the site is “clearly not a hatchet job.”
“Everything is documented,” Corwin told TheDC. “This is a well-done investigation. Brick by brick, block by block; this has been built into a rock-solid investigation.”
“I stand by it 100 percent,” he added.
In a written statement released Thursday, Martin emphatically denied the site’s accusations.
“Russ Carnahan cannot run on his voting record, so he – like Democrats all over the country – are resorting to lies, smears and proxy attacks to tear down their opponents,” Martin said in the statement.
Martin went on to accuse Corwin of being a “political hatchet man,” hired by Carnhan’s campaign manager Angela Barranco to dig up dirt on Martin.
In direct response to the accusation that he was involved with covering up criminal activity in the St. Louis Archdiocese, Martin said that Corwin’s only proof is the fact that he did, at one time, work there. But according to Martin, he had absolutely no involvement or authority on the “adjudication or disposition of those accused of crimes or wrongdoing.”
“His [Corwin’s] method is to spread unsubstantiated claims from fellow hacks. He has smeared men and women who are running for office in ways that would make Joseph McCarthy proud,” said Martin in his statement.
When asked about his association with the Carnahan campaign, Corwin told TheDC that he was “brought in months ago by the media company working on the Carnahan campaign.”
According to Corwin, he was tipped off about Martin’s alleged past when the candidate spoke about his experience with the Catholic Church in St. Louis.
“And I said to them [Carnahan’s campaign] ‘we’ve got to go with this’. But they said, ‘No, we’re not going to offend the Catholic vote,’” Corwin told TheDC.
“So, I said: ‘I can’t work with you.’”
Corwin said he paid for the website and the investigation into Martin’s past out of his own pocket. “I got so deep in this story because it’s such a phenomenal story.”
The Carnahan campaign admitted Thursday night to hiring Corwin at one point, but would go no further.
“His investigator attempted like crazy to create it and Carnahan never once denounced it – instead his operatives ‘leaked’ it to the press and made threats about it,” said Martin’s spokesperson, Theresa Petry, in a press release.
The Carnahan campaign has not yet responded to TheDC’s request for comment.
When contacted directly, Martin told TheDC: “You can’t unfire a bullet. This smear is Carnahan’s to own.”
As The Daily Caller previously reported, Rep. Carnahan’s record in Congress has its share of ethical lapses. Last month, in fact, it was revealed that Tom Carnahan – Russ’s brother – received a $107 million grant from the Department of Energy for a wind farm in Missouri.