The Slime Machine Targeting Dozens of Biden Nominees - 2022-04-16
Tom Jones, the A.A.F.'s founder and executive director, is a longtime Beltway operative specializing in opposition research. Records show that over the years he has worked for several of the most conservative Republicans to have served in the Senate, including Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin; Ted Cruz, of Texas; Jim DeMint, of South Carolina; and John Ensign, of Nevada, for whom Jones was briefly a legislative director. In 2016, Jones ran the opposition-research effort for Cruz's failed Presidential campaign. When I asked Jones for an interview, through the A.A.F.'s online portal, he replied, "Ms. Meyers . . . Go pound sand." Citing an article that I had written debunking attacks on Bloom Raskin from moneyed interests, including the A.A.F., he said, "You are a liberal hack masquerading as an investigative journalist—and not a very good one." Jones subsequently posted this comment on his group's Twitter account, along with my e-mail address and cell-phone number.
A decade ago, Bill Dauster, a Democrat who is now the chief counsel to the Senate Budget Committee, helped Jones organize a bipartisan Torah study group for Jewish congressional staffers. Dauster recalls him as "soft-spoken and cordial," and finds it hard to reconcile the man he knew with Jones's current persona. "I find what he appears to have done quite distasteful," he said.
In interviews with right-wing media outlets, Jones hasn't been shy about his intentions. Last April, he told Fox News, which called A.A.F.'s tactics "controversial," that his group wants to "take a big handful of sand and throw it in the gears of the Biden Administration," making it "as difficult as possible" for the President and his allies on Capitol Hill "to implement their agenda." When asked why his group was bothering to attack sub-Cabinet-level appointees, he explained that people in "that second tier are really the folks who are going to do the day-to-day work implementing the agenda."