CD7: Linda Weber campaign goes fake news, doctoring an ad to look like Insider NJ called Tom Malinowski a “tax cheat”

UPDATED 10:01 pm with a better screenshot of the Weber Facebook ad.
UPDATED 12:14 am Well, I have a statement from the Weber campaign, but it leaves me with more questions than answers. I’ve asked those questions, in fact delayed posting the statement for an hour hoping to get those answers. But I have an early morning. The Weber campaign’s statement is posted as an update at the end of the post. – Rosi

Linda Weber’s CD7 campaign is running a Sponsored Content Ad on Facebook mocked up and doctored using the name of the legit news source Insider NJ to trick the viewer into thinking Insider is calling her rival Tom Malinowski a “tax cheat.” In reality, Insider’s actual coverage of the latest Malinowski story did not call Malinowski a “tax cheat” (or suggest it in any way), was completely different in tone, and none of those words were in the headline. The real headline and Insider link are below. But first, here is Weber’s ad:

This is pretty propagandistic stuff Weber is peddling here. Here is how Insider NJ editor Max Pizarro actually wrote up the story. Real headline is below, and here is the link for you to read it.

I’ve reached out to Max, and also to Linda Weber. I understand Max is dealing with a snowed-in car right now, so he has my sympathy. UPDATE: I heard from Max, who had no comment.

UPDATE 12:14 am: Got a statement from the Weber campaign:

We did not alter the Insider NJ article; we simply linked to it from our ad because it provides documentation regarding Tom Malinowski’s tax issues. We stand by our ad particularly given that his own campaign manager is on the record admitting that he took an illegal tax break in Washington, DC. This is a legitimate issue for voters to be made aware of and a major liability in a general election.
Tony Coppola
Linda Weber for Congress

Note: A member of my household is running the Goutam Jois CD7 campaign.
Featured photo of Linda Weber: from 
campaign website. Updated (better) screenshot of the Weber Facebook ad is via Bruno Tedeschi, formerly of the Linda Mandelblatt CD7 campaign.


Comments (14)

  1. Loretta Weinberg

    I’m not sure about the Insider reference since it is not quite readable on the caption you shared. This is an interesting race. Are there any substantial issue differences between these two? Whatever the accusations are Mr Malinowski is new to the district, and Ms. Weber has lived there most of her life. I realize he was doing great work in the Obama administration. during all those years he lived in Washington. But that is it legitimate issue when considering these two candidates.

    Linda Weber’s gender is an important issue also. We have only one woman in our congressional district, and we are looking forward to attracting many women’s votes in order to change Congress.

    1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

      I’m not sure I understand what you mean that you’re not sure about the Insider reference. At any rate, I just updated the post with a better screenshot, maybe it was hard to read.

      In the Weber ad, “’ (which is Insider’s URL) appears over the made-up headline: “Tax Cheat Tom: The DC insider Leonard Lance wan…” Above the photo, Weber’s campaign wrote: “Tom Malinowski says he’s from New Jersey, but he’s getting an illegal tax break on his home in DC.”

      How exactly does that not look like an attempt to trick you into the assumption that it’s Insider’s actual headline?

    2. Elizabeth Keller

      With all due respect, Senator Weinberg, if you need to ask whether there are substantial issue differences between these two candidates, then you probably are not yet in a position to endorse one of the candidates. As a former Women’s Studies instructor at Rutgers University, I feel that simply being a woman does not guarantee that a candidate will be better for women or will attract more women voters. I have heard Weber and Malinowski speak many times, and I choose the candidate who fought for women’s rights in Afghanistan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia over the banker who has no experience in government. Weber does not compare well to the other candidates in the race in terms of projecting intelligence, wide knowledge of issues, and likability. These are all qualities a candidate will need to compete with Leonard Lance.

  2. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    Lisa Mandelblatt, who before suspending her own CD7 Dem campaign raised $659k, including a hefty loan she made to her campaign, sent a statement to me, calling on Weber to “stop using Russian-style “fake news” tactics to spread lies about Tom Malinowski”. Mandelblatt endorsed Malinowski when she herself left the race. She called Weber’s Facebook ad “eerily similar to ads Russians ran against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.” Mandelblatt:

    “It’s bad enough that Linda Weber is spreading lies about fellow Democrat after pledging to run a clean campaign. But what raises this to the level of despicable is that she’s employing campaign tactics honed by Russians to undermine our democracy. With all that we have learned since the 2016 about Russian meddling in our elections, it’s unconscionable that Linda Weber would approve this ad.”

  3. Mitchelle Drulis

    Senator, I can understand that your LD district does not include any part of the 7th so you may not be aware, but Mr. Malinowski is not new to the district. He grew up in this area and has shared many childhood memories of his youthful adventures in Lambertville and the surrounding area. In fact his Aunt was a Senator Senator, like you. She represented Hunterdon County in the Senate. On the other hand, I have heard Ms. Weber speak at forums and nominating conventions. I believe she has said she has lived in NJ for about 15 years. Given what I estimate her age to be, that would represent a very small percentage of her life. In fact, I believe she has lived an equal amount of time living in planes such as Seattle, New York and other such Non-Jersey Locations. Only one of these two candidates have family roots in NJ. Mr. Malinowski’s Mother lives in NJ. A quick look at Ms. Weber’s FEC report does not indicate any extended family in our state. Her children did not even attend college in NJ and she has publically shared her youngest son is refusing to return to NJ after his college graduation. What roots does she have that tie her to our great State?

    While I agree that it would be wonderful to have more female elected representatives, gender alone is not a reason to vote for a candidate. If gender was the sole issue, both you and I would have been reluctant to support Governor Murphy. As we both know, a man can be an advocate for Woman, and that is why Governor Murphy had your support as well as mine instead Kim Gaurdino.

    Mr. Malinowski has a history of strong advocacy on behalf of women. I urge you to look at each candidate’s actions as much as their words. At the events I have attended in my districtt, I am often struck by the fact that it is Mr. Malinowski who has a female campaign manager while Ms. Weber chose to hire a male. It is Mr. Malinowski whose team of volunteers is the picture of strong, smart WOMEN, while it is a group of men that sport the Weber for Congress tees at past events. Actions matter.

    Tom Malinowski is the best possible candidate to defeat Congressman Lance and to energize female voters, which why so many women, including all the women who have previousky run for Congress in the 7th , are working diligently to get him elected!

    1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

      Michelle –
      Due respect, I can’t see how where the Webers’ two sons went to college or choose to live has any bearing on Linda Weber’s abilities, or commitment to the district or her race. In fact, one of her sons has been a very active presence in her campaign. The Webers have roots in the area; Linda Weber ran unsuccessfully for a Berkeley Heights Council seat in 2010, her husband Mark (known to readers here as our former frontpager ‘Jersey Jazzman’) teaches in Warren Twp. I have no idea where she once lived; IMO that’s a non-issue, just as the fact that Malinowski lived in D.C. while he was working there. Just my 2 cents.

      1. Mitchelle Drulis

        Rosi, exactly! I agree with you. It doesn’t really matter where they go to school, orr where anyone lived and I wish the argument about who is “more Jersey” could be done with already. We can go back and forth all day but how does it help the district? Iit Doesn’t. And neither does that disgusting ad Weber posted.

  4. Peg Sturmfels

    No, Dave Pringle, who has lived his whole life in the 7th is the candidate to beat Leonard Lance. He has spent the last 30 years actually working on the issues the other candidates say they’ll fight for. Environment, working families, health, Dave has fought for all New Jerseyians including challenging Lance on his votes in the state house and the congress.

    1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

      Dave Pringle got in the race very, very late. I don’t even see any filing with the FEC yet, nor any indication that fundraising has begun.* This will be an expensive race; primary, then general. Peg, does Pringle have the ability here to run a viable campaign?

      *FEC website drives me nuts. Am I missing his filing with FEC?

  5. Elizabeth Keller

    In all of the candidate forums I have attended, Weber did not impress me as being qualified for the job or likely to defeat Lance. I am not surprised therefore that she felt the need to resort to dirty tactics like this. I don’t know how I could bring myself to support such an unappealing candidate in the general election.

  6. Stephen Leftly

    Sadly Linda Weber has unnecessarily introduced a discordant note into the campaign which up to now I thought was very engaging and motivating for all Democrats in CD7.

    That is not going to help whoever wins the D primary.

  7. Loretta weinberg

    Thank you Rosi; I hope to continue earning the ‘badass” title!
    Thank you for the screen shot which makes the point you were making clearer. I think the essential facts of the situation are quite clear so folks can draw their own conclusions.
    Michele Druiliss: I know I don’t live in the 7th district but whoever is elected from ANY CD in our state has a profound influence on all of us – whther we are talking about infrastructure women’s reproductive freedom,.and the very air we believe. This choice is not an internal one picking a County chair or something like that! This is a fight to flip Congress. We are blessed to have some outstanding candidates. But the fact is one of them has lived in the district for that last numb3r of years and the other has lived in DC. And 9ne of them is a woman at a time when we Need women to run and need to attract women to vote. I think One of them is the better candidate.

    So it is now up to the Union County Chairs to make a decision>. Whoever they choose and whoever wins the nominee will be a great representative and we will all work for their election!

    1. Dave Pilmenstein

      Senator Weinberg,

      I’d gladly support a female candidate if she had more progressive views and didn’t resort to mudslinging… but this latest expenditure of buying a custom domain and making a full-window attack ad just goes to show how flippantly that campaign wastes resources. Definitely not the people I trust to use my dollar to take on Lance.

      Really? That’s what hard-earned donor dollars are going to? Some strategy.

  8. Michelle Rose

    I live in Hunterdon county, and went to several events so that I could enlighten myself about the candidates running against Lance. I met Linda Weber in person on a sunny day in front of Lance’s office for a rally. To my surprise, she openly maligned the other female candidate, characterizing her as “only a substitute teacher”. This left such a bad taste in my mouth and I continued to seek information to give myself the chance to vote for the best candidate. I now know who that is. I was going to give her a second chance, as I really wanted it to be a female. I would rather have Tom as he has continued his commitment to integrity, something sorely lacking these days, obviously. When he was asked about his residency issue, I found his response to be sincere, appropriate, and his ethical persona was so clear, many times when I listened to him. I agree, it doesn’t have to be a woman to fight us. He has experience in D.C. and that is huge. I am fatigued with those who don’t. It’s time for people in the know.


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