Michigan Republicans accused of spying on opponent with hidden camera

 

Video secretly recorded by a campaign staffer for the Michigan Republican Party at an event for Gov. Rick Snyder’s Democratic opponent surfaced after a disk containing the footage was found following a county Democratic meeting.

In the video, recorded on a camera hidden on staffer Natalie Collins’s glasses, she and intern Kyle Anderson attend a fundraiser of gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. It was uploaded to YouTube by the Schauer campaign with an added introduction featuring the theme song from “Inspector Gadget.” The footage was found after an Oakland County Democratic Party meeting last week, according to The Detroit News.

In the video, the two staffers talk with Schauer’s running mate, Lisa Brown, comment on the home’s decor, and are questioned by a member of Schauer’s campaign who asks how they heard about the fundraiser.

“OK, that lady was freaking me out,” Collins said in the video. “I think she’s onto us,” Anderson responded.

A spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, Darren Littell, acknowledged the two had been sent to the fundraiser, but defended it to The Detroit News.

“Republicans do it; Democrats do it. People use different ways to get the footage. … This is a newer approach,” he said.

Tracking opponents at public events is fine, but doing so at a private event at someone’s home is different, said Frank Houston, chairman of the Oakland County Democratic Party.

“That’s a little different than sneaking into private meetings,” Houston told The Detroit News. “It’s totally legitimate to track what people are doing. … What is new about this is they’re acting like they’re in ‘Mission Impossible’ or James Bond or something and trying to do it on the fly. That’s the line that seems to be getting crossed here.”

Update: This article inaccurately described who Collins and Anderson worked for.

 

Hunter Schwarz covers the intersection of politics and pop culture for the Washington Post

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Hunter Schwarz · July 17, 2014

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