Independent Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill went on the offensive Friday, backing up a lawsuit against former campaign employees with e-mails that he says show coordination between opponent Charlie Baker's staff and aides that defected from his team.
The suit follows the decision last month by three staffers to jump ship from Cahill's campaign. On Oct. 1, Paul Loscocco, Cahill's former lieutenant governor running mate, quit the independent ticket to endorse Republican Baker.
Cahill contends the men who abandoned him -- all 2008 campaign teammates for Sen. John McCain -- were working with Baker's team to convince Loscocco to bail and were providing confidential information that would undermine Cahill's candidacy.
Cahill Campaign Manager Scott Campbell on Friday called on Baker to fire the GOP candidate's staffers "involved with the backroom deal and collusion" with the Republican Governors Association that led to Loscocco's abandonment.
"It's time Charlie Baker proves he's not part of this sleazy, underhanded affair and get to the bottom of who on his staff was coordinating with the (Republican Governors Association), cutting deals to have our running mate depart and texting our campaign manager about information. If he doesn't take control of this and make the necessary fires then he has no grounds to portray himself as anything but the insider that he most obviously is," he said.
But one of the aides, former campaign manager Adam Meldrum, said Cahill's lawsuit is a means to prevent him from gaining whistleblower status that he had planned to use to take evidence to the attorney general showing illegal coordination between the Massachusetts Lottery, which Cahill heads as state treasurer, and his political campaign.
Meldrum alleged that Cahill's political and governmental staffs coordinated on a series of TV ads that boast how well the lottery has performed.
"This lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to silence us from doing the right thing for the people of Massachusetts," said Meldrum. "It is unfortunate that once again Tim Cahill is using the taxpayer dollars to further his political ambition."
John Weaver, a former Cahill strategist, said Thursday that the "lawsuit is as valid as the Cahill campaign."
Weaver's name is attached to an e-mail sent out by the Cahill campaign. In it, he writes that Loscocco "will be given/offered a lifeline (for defecting). Up to him to take it or not."
"That lifeline either came from the RGA or from Baker and it doesn't matter as they are one and the same. As to the absurd statement that we filed suit to cover anything up, we reference this email which clearly shows if we had not filed suit confidential campaign information was going to be sent to the Baker campaign," Campbell said.
The RGA, which gave Meldrum a job in New Mexico, would be happy to get Cahill out of the running as he is accused of being a spoiler in the race to defeat Massachusetts Democratic incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick. Baker and Patrick have been statistically tied in the polls.
Cahill's lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order to prevent any information-sharing. It also seeks compensatory damages. The lawsuit says the Weaver group had been paid about $215,000, with the potential to earn up to $425,000 -- including a $100,000 bonus -- if Cahill won.
Baker's campaign is not named in the lawsuit, and the candidate said he had not seen it and was unaware of any conspiracy.
"I don't know anything about it," Baker told reporters during an appearance Thursday.
He said he did not authorize anyone in his campaign to make overtures to the former Cahill aides.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.