Oregon liberal Congressman Peter DeFazio has long posed as a congressional champion of political campaign “reform,” voting for the McCain-Feingold legislation in 2002 and the “Campaign Finance Disclosure Requirements” bill in 2010 that required clear labeling of all campaign messages. But faced with his first serious reelection effort in more than a decade, the desperate 13-term incumbent Democrat's official campaign has jettisoned political transparency — and federal law — by putting up billboards that pose as his rival, Access to Energy publisher and Republican nominee Dr. Art Robinson.
“He was putting them up with no disclaimers, or with disclaimers so small no one could read them,” Robinson told The New American. “That, of course, violates the laws.” Indeed, three of the billboards contain no disclosure of the sponsor at all. Robinson has filed a $1 million defamation lawsuit to get the billboards taken down before the election, but DeFazio told local newspapers that he has no intention of taking the billboards down.
The billboards all begin with a picture of Robinson and “Art Robinson says …” followed by a slogan designed to make Robinson appear radical:
“Public schools should be abolished”
“Social Security should be ended through attrition”
“OSU is a liberal socialist stronghold”
The billboards clearly do not accurately reflect Robinson's political views. For example, Robinson has called for “local control of schools” and an end to federal regulations on education, not outright abolition of all public schools. But DeFazio remains adamant that he will keep the billboards up. “All of them are documented. They are accurate,” DeFazio told the Douglas County News Review. “He said all of those things.”
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Photo of Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.): AP Images