An Open Letter to Senator Hatch [Updated]

You don't call, you don't write...orrin hatch

I've just about exhausted myself trying to get someone in your office to call me back this week. Please apologize to your adorable receptionist on my behalf - the poor man now gets audibly exasperated as soon as I say "hello".

What I'd like to talk with you about is very simple: on NBC's Meet the Press this past Sunday, you said this about Carol Lam, the US Attorney for San Diego who was fired by the Justice Department in December:

"She was a former law professor, no prosecutorial experience, and the former campaign manager in Southern California for Clinton"

I checked the transcript against the video, and it's clear to me that you weren't misquoted.

Here's my question for you or your staff: what in the Lord's name are you talking about?

Here at Air America, we called John Emerson, who managed Clinton's California campaign in '92 and again in '96 to ask if Carol Lam had been the "campaign manager in Southern California for Clinton" - you might have thought we'd asked him if the sky was green.

First of all, uh, NO, she wasn't.

And second, Carol Lam was an Assistant US Attorney at the time of Clinton's campaigns, and she therefore couldn't have also been a campaign manager for any presidential candidate without violating the (ironically-named) Hatch Act, which restricts political activity by federal government employees.

Then we called a source close to Carol Lam in California, who expressed utter bewilderment at what old Orrin said on Meet the Press.

The source confirmed for us publicly-available documents about Lam's career which indicate that she is not a law professor, she's "been a federal prosecutor for nearly 18 years and [has] never been a fundraiser for any president".

Senator Hatch, what's going on here?

Were you thinking of someone else? You seemed under the weather on Sunday -- did you maybe fall asleep and wake up in the middle of what you thought was a totally different interview - an interview about someone who DID work for Clinton's campaign?

Don't you want to apologize and set the record straight? Won't you be embarrassed if Meet the Press has to run a correction about something you said, that you won't retract?

Or do you have secret information that no one else has, that will back up your off-the-wall claims about Carol Lam?

Senator Hatch, call me.

My voicemails have filled up the systems on all of your press guys' phones, so I know you know how to reach me.

When you call me back, I'll give you all the time you want on my radio show to either explain your top-secret Carol Lam information, or to apologize for your utterly outrageous, inexplicable smear.

I know it's difficult to have to defend the Bush Administration for their political purge of the US Attorneys -- but that doesn't mean you get to make stuff up about the US attorneys that you think will make it seem like they deserved what they got.

Come on, come on, Senator Hatch. I caught you on this one. Return my calls -- I'll help you make it all better.

All best wishes,

Rachel Maddow

Host, "The Rachel Maddow Show"

UPDATE: Apparently this open letter thing works! Senator Hatch has now issued a letter (below) climbing down from the pile of lies he told about Carol Lam on Meet the Press this weekend. He now says thought he was talking about a person named "Alan Bersin" when the name "Carol Lam" accidentally escaped his lips instead. Given the massive media attention and debate about "Alan Bersin" recently, I can understand his mistake. For more on this weird controversy, tune into my show, "Yet Another Two Hours of Talk Radio All About Alan Bersin", 6-8PM Eastern on Air America Radio.

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