WaPo columnist accused of conflict of interest after disclosing her son works on Biden campaign in glowing column

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Former Washington Post reporter-turned-columnist Karen Tumulty came under fire Sunday for disclosing her son's employment with the Biden campaign in a column oozing with praise for the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee's reelection bid.

The Sunday column headlined “The woman who transformed Joe Biden’s campaign," gushes over Biden's campaign manager Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, and the "harmony" with which she was able to unite "the Democratic National Committee and the party’s liberal allies."

At one point in the column, Tumulty credits O’Malley Dillon for "transforming what had been an underfinanced, undisciplined and dysfunctional Democratic primary operation into a general-election machine capable of carrying Biden through to the November election," parenthetically adding "(Disclosure: My adult son works for the Biden campaign)."

Many rushed to Twitter to note the apparent conflict of interest — among them Politico reporter Daniel Lippman — who elicited a "fuller disclosure" from Tumulty in response.

"Fuller disclosure: My adult son has been working for the Biden campaign for a week as a research assistant. I have been covering politics for 40 years. Should I give up covering politics? Or tell my adult son not to pursue a career he wants?" Tumulty wrote. "Would love advice from other parents."

Tumulty also urged Lippman to read her "columns about the Biden campaign for the past year, and he will see that it is totally consistent. In the criticism and the praise," she wrote.

One Twitter user warned Tumulty to " avoid inside info" urging her to "Task another trusted relative with the mom advice role, if that is even a factor."

"Can’t imagine a clearer, easier call than saying, 'nope, I’m not gonna write about this," another wrote.


Former Politico reporter Meredith Shiner came to Tumulty's defense, tweeting, "honestly a research assistant is not an important or powerful enough position to give any sort of access or favor. Also if it’s oppo research, we all see it said out loud every day," she wrote. "And if it’s policy research, we all see what’s failing. Call us back when he’s running a campaign."

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