By Arun Kumar, Washington, March 8 IANS | 6 months ago

Manju Goel, a Republican Indian-American Congressional candidate in Illinois, has been asked to withdraw from the primary race over accusations of putting up fake web and social media sites to discredit her opponent.


The head of the Cook County Republican Party asked Goel to withdraw after her opponent in the March 18 primary Larry Kaifesh accused her campaign and supporters of taking her "campaign into the gutter".

"Everything is a facade. They've created imaginary images," Kaifesh was quoted as saying by the local WLS-TV. "There's a Where's Larry web site. All malicious in nature."

According to the phony site, which resembles Kaifesh's official campaign web site, it was paid for by a super political action committee called Indian Americans for Freedom, which lists Goel's address.

Under US law, Super PACs, officially known as "independent-expenditure only committees", can engage in unlimited political spending as long as they don't make contributions to candidate campaigns or parties.

The PAC was formed by Indian-American businessman Shalli Kumar, a supporter of the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Endorsed by former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, a 2012 US Republican Party presidential nomination aspirant, and former 8th District Congressman Joe Walsh, Goel said she has no control over the IAFF organization.

"I cannot account on anybody else's actions," Goel said. "I cannot tell you, because I do not know where the PAC is."

However, Cook County Republican Chairman Aaron Del Mar said he's seen enough. He wants Goel to drop out of the race.

"I felt Ms. Goel needs to step out of the race," Del Mar was quoted as saying. "Her behaviour regarding this campaign has been unbecoming of a GOP (Republican) congressional candidate."

"One person's opinion means nothing to me," Goel said, according to WLS TV.

One of the founders of the Indian Americans of Freedom said the organization is a social organization and not a political action committee.

There is a complaint on file with the Federal Elections Commission regarding the group's activities during this campaign.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

(Posted on 08-03-2014)


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