If the object in Gillibrand’s rearview mirror is in fact larger than it appears, then such guilt-by-association tactics—effectively conflating the actions of a young, ambitious lawyer with the un-provable desire to defend an unsavory corporate client—are not the way to do it. The Times story seems to hinge on the fact that this previous employment is politically inconvenient for Gillibrand, who will defend her Senate seat next year—and builds a character portrait that exceeds the facts on display.

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Jane Kim is a writer in New York.