- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 2, 2001

A top campaign official for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark R. Warner was reprimanded yesterday for posing as a constituent caller and making confrontational remarks about Mr. Warner's Republican opponent during a radio call-in show.
Communications Director Amanda Crumley will keep her job but has written a letter of apology to Gov. James S. Gilmore III and WTOP radio for a prank call she made Tuesday to the monthly "Ask the Governor" show, in which she criticized Mark L. Earley's campaign.
Miss Crumley, who identified herself as "Jennifer from Alexandria," asked Mr. Gilmore whether he had "expressed concern to Mr. Earley that he really kind of get his act together," according to a transcript of the show.
"I mean there's only three months to go, and it's a little disconcerting that things are still going so rough this late in the campaign," Miss Crumley said, according to the transcript.
"No, I think things are going awfully well, actually, Jennifer," Mr. Gilmore replied. "I appreciate your giving me a call."
In a statement released yesterday afternoon, Mr. Warner's campaign manager Steve Jarding admitted that Ms. Crumley misidentified herself as a constituent to ask Mr. Gilmore a question.
"She made a mistake," the statement read. "This action is not tolerated by the campaign. Ms. Crumley has been reprimanded by the campaign and has written a letter of apology to the governor and to WTOP radio."
Miss Crumley did not return a telephone call yesterday.
Warner spokesman Mo Elleithee would not discuss specifics of the reprimand.
The governor's senior adviser, Dick Leggitt, blasted Miss Crumley's actions yesterday and called the incident "seamy back-room politics" and "below-the-belt campaigning." Mr. Leggitt also demanded that Mr. Warner apologize for his staff member's behavior.
"It wasn't appropriate, it wasn't cute, it wasn't a prank," Mr. Leggitt said. "It was a dirty trick designed to try to obtain a response from Governor Gilmore that would damage the Mark Earley campaign, and it didn't work."
The incident came to light after a reporter recognized Miss Crumley's voice during her phone call.
Miss Crumley began by saying Mr. Earley's campaign had "stumbled out of the block" when he "had to return like $50,000 to a company that had close ties with the porn industry," the transcript reads. It was a reference to campaign contributions Mr. Earley received from the chief executive of a software company that marketed its ad-management products to pornography Web sites. Mr. Earley later returned the $47,000 in donations.
Mr. Leggitt said Miss Crumley's actions went against Mr. Warner's pledge to run a clean campaign, avoiding mudslinging and name-calling.
Mr. Earley's spokesman, David Botkins, shared Mr. Leggitt's sentiment.
"The tone and behavior of a campaign starts at the top with the candidate," Mr. Botkins said last night. "How does that jive with Mark Warner's clean-campaign pledge where he vowed to have a higher discourse?"

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