Friday, April 1, 2011

Scott Brown blasts Dems’ checkup

From: Boston

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown — an upstart Blue State Republican in the cross hairs of national Democrats — is lashing out at the party’s opposition researchers, accusing them of prying into his family’s private health insurance records, and demanding that they stop fighting dirty.

“It seems in bad form. Obviously, when it comes to information about my wife and daughters, it crosses the line. I find it offensive and so do they,” Brown told the Herald yesterday.

“They (Democrats) don’t have any business muddling in the private health records of my family,” said Brown, adding that his family is “disturbed” by the intrusion.

Officials from the Group Insurance Commission, the state’s health insurance provider, notified Brown on Tuesday that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee asked them “to provide insurance information,” according to a copy of the GIC letter obtained by the Herald.

The GIC, a quasi-independent state agency, administers health insurance for state employees and their families. Brown’s wife, Gail Huff, and two daughters, Ayla and Arianna, were also on his state insurance plan when he was a Wrentham state senator.

A copy of the DSCC request provided to the Herald asks for “all direct correspondence” between Brown and the GIC under the Massachusetts public records law.

A DSCC spokesman insisted the request was only for public information and never sought private medical information about the Brown family.

“Obviously, the commission has made a mistake. Now Brown is trying score cheap political points to distract from his record, voting in lock step with Republicans in Washington, D.C.,” said spokesman Matt Canter.
“Brown votes with the Republican establishment 98 percent of the time, and that makes him out of step with Massachusetts,” Canter added. “Democrats will mount a strong campaign to elect a senator that cares more about creating jobs, than saving his own.”

GIC officials could not be reached for comment, but a letter sent by the agency to Brown’s lawyer Tuesday warns “some or all of the material requested may constitute ‘personal data.’ ”

This fierce partisan crossfire marks the start of what is expected to be a well-financed Democratic campaign to win back a prized Senate seat previously held by the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Brown, who won an astonishing come-from-behind special election last year, is up for re-election in 2012.

Several Democrats are mulling a challenge, including U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Somerville), Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and Newton Mayor Setti Warren.

“The big picture is that Scott Brown is virtually the only Republican senator of the 10 up for re-election that could possibly be vulnerable,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “The Democrats have got to dig up some dirt because they don’t have any alternative.”

The Herald reported Monday that the DSCC filed a March 1 request to the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission seeking “any and all financial disclosures filed” by Brown.

Brown said yesterday that Democrats should know that mudslinging turns voters off. “After the stuff that happened last time,” he said, “you’d think they’d learn that negative campaigning doesn’t work in Massachusetts.”

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