John Fund is denying reports that he is assisting Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann with her forthcoming book.
On June 16, The New York Times reported that Bachmann's book "is tentatively expected to be released this fall" and that Fund -- then a columnist at The Wall Street Journal -- "will assist with the writing of the book."
But the story soon seemed to disappear -- until Monday, when the AP reported that Bachmann's publisher, Sentinel, "declined comment on reports that Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund co-wrote the memoir."
Later that same day, the AP published an updated article, this time saying that Fund denied the story:
Sentinel declined comment on whether Bachmann had assistance on the book. Former Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund said reports that he worked on it were wrong. He said that he had no involvement with the book.
Contacted by Media Matters, Fund said Tuesday, "I'm not working on the Bachmann book. ... What The New York Times said is I might be providing an assist to her. That was the wording, and that was inaccurate."
According to Fund, the Times did not contact him prior to publishing its June story.
Fund said that soon after the Times story appeared, he "requested a clarification or correction" from the Times, adding, "It didn't come forth."
Asked about Fund's comments, Times reporter Julie Bosman, who wrote the June 16 story, said in an email to Media Matters that she never received a correction request from Fund. "John Fund did not contact me for a correction," Bosman wrote. "This is the first I've heard of it."
Bosman did not address our question about Fund's contention that he was never contacted before her story ran.
Media Matters again contacted Fund, this time to ask about Bosman's statement. Fund told Media Matters that he actually did not ask for a formal correction from the Times -- in part because the June story "got very little pick up." But he said he emailed the paper to advise them that the story was incorrect and that no one had contacted him to check on it before it was published. Fund said he didn't remember who at the Times he had contacted.
"I sent them something clarifying and explaining it and that it wasn't the case [that he was helping Bachmann] and that I wish they would call me the next time," Fund said Tuesday. "I don't recall demanding a formal correction, but I did tell them that it was not the case and please call me."
He added that he did not have the original email to the Times because it had been sent on his former Wall Street Journal email account, to which he no longer has access.
Fund said he took a different tack in requesting that this week's AP article be corrected.
"With the AP story, I did [ask for a correction]. I quickly found when I talked to the guy they relied on The New York Times. ... Now [that] the AP came out, I felt compelled to say that I have to correct it. That is what I did."
According to a search of the Journal's website and Dow Jones' Factiva database, Fund has apparently not written a column for the Journal since June 16, the same day that the Times story was published. Fund tells Media Matters that some of his pieces were sent to subscribers rather than being posted on the website and that he actually left the Journal in July.
Asked why he left the Journal, Fund told Media Matters: "I'm working on two books, including one that if I don't finish by a date certain I have to give back the advance." One of Fund's books will focus on the European Union. The other is a rewrite of his book, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy.
Since he left the Journal, Fund has continued to be a non-staff contributor for American Spectator, with his latest piece in the magazine's July/August issue on Ronald Reagan.
Fund said he has not joined the magazine's staff.
A Wall Street Journal spokesperson declined to comment about Fund's departure.