UPDATE: The post does indicate that Marion is an alias. Sarah Steelman spokesman Politico reporter Dave Catanese writes this morning that a woman named "Francis Marion" is claiming responsibility for the "Angry Tea Partier" memo distributed to reporters last week and for Jake Wagman's weekend story in the Post-Dispatch about Sarah Steelman's not-so-terror-free investments . As it reads right now on Politico:
On Monday morning, under the alias "Angry Tea Partier," Francis Marion blasted an e-mail to reporters with a full memo on Steelman's "broken promises" on terror-free investing.
"This is the second in a series of memos being distributed to select media outlets to expose parts of Sarah Steelman’s record that you may not be familiar with," Marion wrote. "Please let me know if you are interested in any exclusives like the Post Dispatch got from us."
Last week, Marion released her first memo detailing Steelman's ties to trial attorneys, an issue that caused the candidate some problems in GOP circles during her 2008 gubernatorial run.
I'm happy to be proven wrong about this, but Francis Marion sounds like a pseudonym to me. I grew up in in Marion County, Missouri, which happens to be named after a General Francis Marion -- a man who earned his "Swamp Fox" nickname for effectively employing guerilla tactics in the Revolutionary War.
There's also a track record of conservative activists adopting Marion as their nom de guerre. You may recall that group calling itself Francis Marion Nation LLC purchased a billboard this summer outside of Kansas City comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.
I'll leave it to Wagman and the Post-Dispatch to reveal whether they got their information from Ms. Marion, but I have my doubts. Catanese's story doesn't give any indication that he has contacted Wagman or the Post-Dispatch for comment on the bold claim. Quick Nexis and Google searches don't reveal any conservative activists in the state by the name, even though the information in the memos and Post-Dispatch story indicate an intimate knowledge of Missouri politics.
Please, please, let me be wrong about this.
I've seen last week's email and this morning's email with from the "Angry Tea Partier" about Steelman. Neither give any indication that the author is interested in using his or her real name. That's fine; I posted last week's memo for public review after two media sources reported the existence of the document without providing its details, and I think that attempts to distribute opposition research like this are interesting parts of the political process that the public rarely sees.
Anyway, here are the two emails I've seen distributing the memos -- you can judge for yourself.
From: Angry Tea Partier [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2010 8:57 AM
Subject: Steelman Memo #2
This is the second in a series of memos being distributed to select media outlets to expose parts of Sarah Steelman’s record that many may not be familiar with. These memos are being created to demonstrate why Steelman will never be a tea party candidate.
From: Angry Tea Partier firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: December 14, 2010 10:19:13 AM CST
Subject: Information Regarding Sarah Steelman
This is the first in a series of memos being distributed to select media outlets to expose parts of Sarah Steelman’s record that many may not be familiar with. The sole purpose of these memos is to explain why the Tea Party will never support Steelman.
And for public review, here's the memo from "Francis Marion" distributed today: