Ford’s Fancy Fling

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

In Tennessee where Harold Ford, Jr. is battling Bob Corker in what some pros think is the toughest Senate race in the nation, the Republicans have been trying to smear Ford for a ski weekend ‘fling’ with Julia Allison (formerly Baugher), then a Georgetown University sophomore. Ford was unmarried and celebrating his 31st birthday. He saw her in a restaurant. One thing led to another and the couple had some sort of relationship which Allison later described in a Cosmopolitan article. She currently writes a dating column for AM New York as well as doing a monthly column in Coed, a Maxim like mag for teens. At Georgetown she wrote a sex column for the student newspaper, and later worked on the campaign of an Illinois congressman, then as a congressional liaison for a House member.

Somebody at the National Republican Committee thought the Julia story could add to the GOP’s smear campaign which portrays Ford as a high liver, attending parties with Playboy beauties, who actually wore lingerie in his company. And they started putting out stuff under headlines like: Ford’s “Fancy Fling” with the opening: “Find out how much Congressmen Harold Ford, Jr. enjoys the good life – including his lavish hotel stays, expensive dinners, and parties with Playboy Playmates.”

No one cared. This news doesn’t seem to have affected Julia’s own career.You can read her blog here, but only if want to bore yourself to death.

“Other than a fabulous weekend ski vacation and a few fancy dinners,” the Memphis Flyer quotes Allison as saying,”all Harold gave me was the certainty that dating a [politician] is overrated.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend