Hmmm: Senior VP at polling firm blamed for anti-Mitt, anti-Mormon calls donated to ... Romney; Update: Why was a known Mitt supporter on the call list? Update: Romney camp denies involvement

And he’s not the only one at the firm, Western Wats, who has. David Freddoso searched the FEC database and discovered that one of the firm’s professional callers maxed out a donation to Mitt in March. A search of my own revealed that a programmer there also donated $500 to him in July. And the aforementioned senior VP, Jeffrey Welch, kicked in $500 of his own as recently as September 30th. Except for one other person (whose job title isn’t given) who donated to Alan Keyes, those are the only donations listed for Western Wats in the FEC’s files. Question: Why would a rival (or 527) looking to push a scummy poll on Mitt select a firm for the task where at least two employees and one executive are known to be sympathetic to him? The mystery candidate would want to minimize the chance of his identity being leaked by whichever firm he retained. This would seem to maximize it. Read this post by Liz Mair making the case for why Mitt’s opponents wouldn’t or couldn’t have done it. Hmmm.

For the record, the firm hasn’t admitted to making the calls. They haven’t denied it either, though, limiting their statement on the subject to a denunciation of push-polling generally (which these calls arguably weren’t an example of). As I’m writing this, Rudy’s campaign has sent around an e-mail with a statement from Giuliani declaring, “There is no room for this sort of thing in politics. Our campaign does not support or engage in these types of tactics and it is our hope other campaigns will adhere to the same policy.” Stay tuned.

Update: Given the point about leaking, using this firm would be risky for any entity except the Romney campaign itself. Mitt strikes me as an honest broker, though, and his candidacy would be fatally damaged if it turned out to be him. I can’t believe his team would have done it.

Update: Soren Dayton makes an excellent point. Why would an Iowa state representative known to be a longstanding supporter of Mitt have been placed on the call list? That would guarantee that word of the polling would get back to the campaign and become publicized.

Update: Mitt’s communication director has released a statement: “We reject any insinuation that we are behind this. We have the most interest in getting to the bottom of this situation.”

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Jazz Shaw 5:01 PM on March 22, 2023