Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, February 13, 2006

No shame: House GOP front organization continues its dirty tricks

You'd think that after the strong negative reaction to last month's series of dirty tricks designed to make Democrats look soft on sex offenders, the House GOP leadership would have told its hacks (and professional trolls - ahem, Kevin Carnes) to stop orchestrating filthy and blatantly outrageous smear campaigns.

But instead, they've apparently been authorized to keep it up:
A Republican political action committee is sending automated phone calls to voters in swing districts targeting Democratic incumbents for opposing a vote on a bill to repeal Washington's estate tax.

Rep. Deb Wallace, D-Vancouver, said her constituents began receiving the calls Thursday. "It's ugly, partisan game-playing that we don't need," she said.


Kevin Carnes, executive director of The Speaker's Roundtable, acknowledged that his office paid for the calls to voters in four legislative districts, including Wallace's 17th District.

The Speaker's Roundtable, which raises money for House Republicans, orchestrated a controversial campaign last month that used phone calls, radio and TV ads and fake sex offender postcards to accuse House Democrats of being soft on sex predators.
This latest round of attacks comes after Republican Rep. Ed Orcutt (who sits on the House Finance Committee) forced the chamber to vote on a procedural motion to bring his bill to repeal the estate tax directly to the floor without a hearing. The motion, of course, failed on a 53 to 45 vote.

And within a few days Washingtonians in four different legislative districts (presumably districts the Republicans believe they can win) were getting robocalls with the message that Democrats are in favor of hurting small businesses because they won't support repeal of the estate tax.

House Republicans, of course, (like Rep. Orcutt) have failed to provide any evidence that small businesses are forced to shut down because of the estate tax. That's obviously because they can't find a single example.

And guess what - the same is true nationally! In his 2003 pamphlet, Winning Responses to Tough Tax Quesions, Marty Liebowitz notes:
Conservatives fueled opposition to the estate tax with the myth that keeping the estate tax would cause the loss of large numbers of small farms and family businesses. The conservative Center for Tax Policy wrote, “Many family farms must be sold off to pay the federal taxes due on the property.”

It sounds good, but it’s just not true. When reporters, and even conservative supporters of repealing the estate tax, looked for small farms or family businesses that were lost because of the estate tax, they couldn’t find any. Neil Harl, an economist whose tax advice has made him a household name among Midwest farmers, said that he had not found a single case in which a farm was lost because of estate taxes. “It’s a myth,” said Mr. Harl. “M-Y-T-H.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation, which supports repeal of the estate tax, was unable to provide a single example of a farm that was lost because of estate taxes. Even after the American Farm Bureau Federation sent out an urgent call to all Farm Bureaus saying, “It is crucial for us to be able to provide Congress with examples of farmers and ranchers who have lost farms due to the death tax,” they still couldn’t find a single example.
The Republicans have lots of rhetoric but they have zero examples to back up their absurd claims.

And now they're attacking Democratic legislators on false premises.

What's even more egregrious is that they're attacking Democrats who voted for Rep. Orcutt's motion:
Wallace said she voted in favor of bringing the bill to the House floor on Tuesday.
So what did Kevin Carnes have to say about that?
"If she wants to be pragmatic about this, maybe (Wallace) should encourage her caucus to take a vote on this," Carnes said.
It's too bad that all you're good at is making up lies, Kevin. You and your cronies have no honor, no moral compass, and no respect for your fellow human beings.

As you might expect, Rep. Orcutt played along, pretending to be clueless:
Orcutt said he knew nothing about the phone calls. He said Wallace probably should not have been targeted if she voted in favor of bringing his bill to the House floor.
Representative Orcutt, if he has any honor at all, ought to personally apologize to Representative Deb Wallace and her colleagues for the defamation they've suffered.
And if the members of the House GOP have any collective honor left, they will demand that Kevin Carnes be dismissed from his positions of power immediately. But we won't be holding our breath waiting for that to happen.

<< Home