Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney should be investigated by the New Hampshire attorney general for what might have been an illegal traffic stop, a group of conservative activists with a connection to rival Sen. John McCain said Thursday.
ConserveNH President Paul Nagy wrote a letter to Attorney General Kelly Ayotte asking her to check if Romney aides illegally stopped a New York Times reporter, checked his license plate against a database and overstepped their role.
“We want attention to the indiscretion,” said Nagy, who said he is not supporting a candidate. “I think there is a bunch of arrogance involved in this. We just don’t do that to guests when they visit our state during the presidential primary season.”
The Flap started from this piece written by New York Times reporter, Mark Leibovich, who on Saturday wrote:
He travels with an entourage that includes two or three â€œoperationsâ€ guys who serve as advance men and a security detail. (Between stops in New Hampshire, this reporter found himself trailing the former governorâ€™s S.U.V. on a back road, only to be led to the shoulder and instructed to â€œveer offâ€ by a man wearing an earpiece who emerged from Mr. Romneyâ€™s car. â€œWe ran your license plate,â€ he told the reporter, and explained that no one was permitted to follow Mr. Romneyâ€™s vehicle.)
Earlier today, the Romney campaign denied stopping the reporter:
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s campaign is denying a report that aides pulled over a New York Times reporter trailing the former governor’s caravan in New Hampshire, checked his license plates and told him to leave.
In a story profiling Romney in Saturday editions, the reporter, Mark Leibovich, wrote that while following Romney’s caravan last month, an aide stopped him and told him his plates had been run.
“As we reported, I was instructed to veer off, which to me is the same as telling someone to leave,” Leibovich said in an interview. “I obviously cannot speak to whether they ran my license plate or not. I can only speak to what the person told me he was doing.”
New Hampshire law does not allow campaign aides access to license plate databases, nor does it allow private staffers to pull over fellow citizens.
Romney spokesman Matt Rhoades said Wednesday that the campaign did not stop Leibovich.
“We will not comment on security procedures for the governor,” Rhoades said. “We can confirm, though, that at no time was the reporter’s license plate run through a check or was his vehicle pulled over.”
Romney’s campaign said the group became lost on back roads after a May 29 stop at Harvey’s Bakery in Dover. A construction detour confused them, the cars stopped, and the staffer walked back to chat with the unknown car.
Well, somebody here is not telling the truth.
If the Romney operations folks did what Leibovich wrote then they CLEARLY violated New Hampshire law. At best, the Romney operations crew lied to the reporter to scare him off or intimidate him – real nice.
In any case, the New Hampshire Attorney General should investigate the matter.
And Romney himself needs to clear the air, set the record straight (since he was there), fire the staff responsible and apologize, if necessary.
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