His lie exposed, Kean chooses to stick with it | Moran | #predators | #childpredators | #kids

Give this much to Sen. Tom Kean Jr.: Once he tells a lie, he has the courage to stick with it, even after hard evidence proves it’s a lie.

You can begin to see why he had no trouble endorsing President Trump for a second term.

The lie is vicious and personal, a charge that Rep. Tom Malinowski, the Democratic incumbent in the 7th district, worked to protect child sex predators in 2006 when he was Washington director of Human Rights Watch.

The ad claims that Malinowski lobbied to oppose a national registry for sex offenders, and that’s simply not true. Human Rights Watch stated in writing at the time that it did not oppose a sex registry, only the bill’s harshest provisions, like the one that could ensnare a kid charged with public urination. It’s on HRW spelled this out in a letter that is in the Congressional Record, page H691, so there’s no wiggle room. The ad is just a lie.

And Malinowski’s job at HRW was to work on foreign policy and security issues, work that led to his later appointment as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Democracy in the Obama administration.

Malinowski signed HRW’s lobbying report for this crime bill, along with a colleague, Jennifer Daskal, who handled domestic issues. Both say they routinely put both names on all lobbying forms, a common shortcut, but that Malinowski played no role in forming HRW’s stance on the bill or lobbying for it. (And even if he had lobbied for these reasonable changes, that wouldn’t make him an ally of child predators, as Kean charges.)

On Tuesday, Malinowski’s campaign released a letter of protest signed by 20 faith leaders in the district, including Christians, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs. “We welcome and encourage debate on those issues,” they wrote. “But we abhor and condemn in the strongest terms possible personal attacks based on lies.”

That followed a letter last week signed by six elected Republicans in the district, including two mayors, three former mayors, and a councilwoman. “The accusation is false,” they wrote. “What’s more, the ad plays into and amplifies a dangerous current of fear in our politics, which is turning Americans against one another and districts us from the real challenges our country faces.”

On Tuesday, the Washington Post fact-checkers reviewed the ad and gave it four Pinocchio’s, its harshest rating.

Kean won’t talk about any of this. The ad is still running on cable TV in the district, paid for the Republican National Congressional Committee at a cost that Malinowski’s campaign estimates of $250,000 a week. But you can blame this on Kean, who has refused to denounce the ad and used it to attack Malinowski as a protector of child predators during a recent debate. His campaign manager, Harrison Neely, has tweeted the ad as well.

Kean refused to discuss the ad, or the letters from constituents asking him to take it down. What can he say, after all? In this case, one can forgive him for hiding under his desk. It’s more difficult to forgive the slander, and his continuing effort to capitalize on it.

More: Tom Moran columns

Tom Moran may be reached at tmoran@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @tomamoran. Find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.




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