It now appears very possible that Sen. Robert Mendendez (D-N.J.) was the victim of a Nixon-style dirty-tricks crime perpetrated by political opponents who bribed third parties to lie about his alleged relations with prostitutes. I am not drawing conclusions, but I am calling for an investigation, after a key witness recanted her claim that Menendez paid for sex. I am calling for all media that reported the charge to give equal coverage to the recanting witness and investigations of potential dirty tricks that will surely follow. I am calling on Tucker Carlson, editors at The Daily Caller and leaders of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to give a full public accounting of the details behind their involvement in this sordid affair.

What did Carlson, The Daily Caller and CREW know, and when did they know it, and on what basis, and by whom, and for what motive was it merchandised to mass media?

More than once I have had people come to me and suggest I write vicious attacks about the alleged wrongdoing of political officials without being willing to let me identify them as my source, and without being willing to provide me with any evidence of their charge. Every time, without exception, I have said no.

This business of anonymous, unsourced smears without facts and without evidence, which are repeated ad nauseum in high visibility media, is a disgrace both to the corruption of our politics and the corruption of our media.

Regarding the original allegation that was forwarded by CREW to the FBI, I would like to know who exactly leaked this undocumented, unverified, unsourced charge to the media?

Regarding The Daily Caller, did Carlson or his editors have any, or attempt to find any, credible evidence before going public with such a charge, or was this just a partisan hit job by a right-wing Republican rag?

I am certainly willing to withhold all judgment on matters relating to Mendendez until the facts are investigated, revealed and clear. I deplore the rush to press, the witch hunt and the sensationalism that gave high-voltage media attention to a charge that had no known source, no known evidence and no known proof.

It does appear very likely, based on the known facts surrounding the witness recanting, that Mendendez was the victim of a Nixon-style dirty-tricks campaign. If this proves to be true, the remedy for the perpetrator includes handcuffs.