WASHINGTON (AP) -- Missouri Republican Sen. Kit Bond on Thursday fired his communications director for running a political Web site named for the tail number of a plane that crashed in 2000, killing the state's Democratic governor.
"The actions of a member of my staff in using official computers to make hurtful personal attacks on public servants were totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Bond said in a statement issued Thursday.
The staff member was Ernie Blazar, Bond's communications director the past three years. Bond aide Jason Van Eaton confirmed Thursday that Blazar had been fired.
The Web site had Republican-leaning commentary with links to political news and other Web sites. Blazar, using pseudonyms, apparently ran the site and e-mailed other political Web sites during working hours, and some of it was done on his Senate computer.
The site's title -- N8354N -- "is not random," a note on the Web site read. "It marks an inflection point in current Missouri politics. On that day, the worm began to turn." Content was removed from the site early Thursday morning.
Gov. Mel Carnahan was running for Senate when his plane crashed October 16, 2000. He was elected posthumously and Carnahan's widow, Jean, was appointed to take his place.
But Republican Jim Talent won the Senate seat from her last year in a special election to finish out her husband's term.
Missouri Democrats found the Web site and made the connection to Bond's office on Wednesday. They said Thursday that Bond did the right thing to fire Blazar but questioned whether other Bond staffers had participated.
"There was no excuse for the pain this guy inflicted on people, and taxpayers should not be forced to pay his salary," said Marc Farinella, a longtime adviser to Carnahan and his wife, Jean.
It's not against Senate rules to operate such a Web site, so long as Senate resources are not used. But it is against the rules to use Senate resources to do any political activity.
In his statement, the senator said he knew nothing about the Web site until Wednesday night.
"I offer my sincere apologies, and those of my staff, to all those offended by these messages," Bond said. "There will be no place in my office, or in my campaign, for this type of attack. The person responsible will no longer be a member of my staff View Article Here