MARCH 17, 2006
A former Democratic operative will plead guilty to illegally obtaining Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele’s credit report.
Lauren Weiner, who was a researcher for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) last year when she accessed the credit data, has worked out a plea agreement, said her attorney Whitney C. Ellerman, and will likely be sentenced to 150 hours of community service with no jail time or fines.
Weiner used Steele’s Social Security number, reportedly obtained from court records, to “fraudulently and illegally obtain his credit report,” according to a source cited by NewsMax in November.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act makes it a federal crime to knowingly and willfully obtain a person’s credit report without their consent or under false pretenses. The crime carries a maximum of two years imprisonment.
Though it has been claimed that this crime was an honest mistake, there is no doubt that the senate race in Maryland is a crucial one to both Democrats and Republicans. It is highly suspect that illegally obtaining the personal credit report of another person could have been an honest mistake.
It has also been reported that the DSCC has paid the legal fees for Weiner. The blog No Agenda writes that it is amazing how “a Republican can’t even be in the same zipcode as Jack Abramoff without getting accused of being connected to him,” yet the Washington Post will protect DSCC Chairman Senator Schumer from being associated with the actions of his staffers.
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