The Weird Origins of L'Affaire Kildee

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 21 2011 10:38 AM

The Weird Origins of L'Affaire Kildee

Washington doesn't quite know what to make of the Dale Kildee story. Last week, to very little fanfare, four video interviews went up on YouTube, recording family members who claimed that the future congressman molested a 12-year-old relative in the 1960s. (Kildee is 82, and retiring next year.) Over 45 minutes, they ramble and reminiscese about the incident. Their names never appear. "We can't substantiate the story," says one woman in the audio. "We can't get records." This went up on November 15, and a local TV station's report is scheduled to air tonight. Sounds damaging, right?

Maybe not. Kildee's defense, as reported by John Bresnahan, is that the people in the tape are estranged extortionists, and that he has reported them to the FBI. Bresnahan adds this context.

The allegations against Kildee were reported by a self-described “investigative journalist” and blogger named Susan Bradford. Bradford is the author of a book claiming that Abramoff was set up by “a group of lobbyists, tribal dissidents, and the Washington Post” in order to make sure that “Abramoff and his conservative allies were removed from power.”

Go ahead, click over to Bradford's website. You will learn that "at the height of the North Korean conflict, Bradford was appointed speech writer to Korean Ambassador Sung Chul Yang," that she was "the first student member of the Hollywood Women's Press Club," and that "as a postgraduate, she copy edited Prof. Emil Kirchner's Recasting the European Order." You sound doubtful. Well, "her professional biography is maintained in Marquis' Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, and Who's Who Among American Women." Does this sound like a self-published author whose claim to fame was a book full of unsubstantiated claims, with a chapter all about "the Rockefeller influence" in the plot against Jack Abramoff?

Well, I guess it does.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


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