Monday, July 31, 2006

Billy Dalto: Sit down, shut up and stop asking questions about your tax dollars

I took a short getaway for the weekend to decompress from the world (and celebrate my 42nd year). So my followup to Friday's post regarding Representative Billy Dalto's use of Oregon taxpayer dollars had to be put off until this morning.

Dalto himself appeared late in the day on Friday to comment on the post. After careful consideration I've decided that Dalto is indeed a Republican. That's evident from the neck deep waders it takes to get through the pile of BS he dished out on this blog:

Well the lefty blogosphere has hit a new low. That’s the problem with blogs – they’re more gossip than objective journalism. How low will my opponent stoop? First he lies to voters, then he attacks my mother. My mother is a very special lady who had some financial trouble and this attack is hurtful and bad enough, but to use it as a campaign issue is an obvious sign of desperation.

Do they teach this "kill the messenger" crap in Republican School or is it just on a memo-by-memo basis? If Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian or Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week had published this information, I'm thinking Dalto would have gone on the stump to blame the "liberal media" for "attacking" his poor mother.

I suppose I should feel honored. Its obvious that the post hit a big, fat nerve. The post wasn't about Dalto's mom and he knows it. Instead of addressing the legitimate questions about the use of taxpayer funds, Dalto waves his arms like a windmill and begs readers to look at everything except those questions.

Dalto's opponent in the House District 21 race is Brian Clem. I've never met or spoken with Brian Clem or anyone on his campaign staff. None of them had anything at all to do with this post. Dalto's attempt to credit Clem with the work of others is annoying, stupid and unsurpisingly ill-informed.

But even if I had spoken with Clem or his what? Since when are Oregonians not allowed to ask questions about the way their tax dollars are spent and accounted for? That's the essence of what Dalto is saying here: sit down, shut up and stop questioning how I spend the money you send to Salem.

My mother struggled to raise my brother and me by herself after my father died following a prolonged bout with cancer. She was left with huge medical bills and worked several jobs, often late at night, to provide for our family and buy us clothes for school. But she never missed a beat – she’d wake up early to make me breakfast and talk to me before school after working long nights.

I don’t know much about mom’s financial affairs but she is not a public official so to make her personal financial situation public like this is beyond the pale. My opponent should be ashamed of himself. Stooping to attack my mother, a very special lady, is indicative of his dirty brand of politics.

Yeah, yeah. I'm sure you walked to school with no shoes in the snow and had to travel uphill both ways. Everyone has a story and I have no reason to doubt that Mrs. Dalto is a hard working woman. But of course that's not what this is about.

Its about the use of Oregon taxpayer funds for wages for an individual that went undeclared on legal documents at the risk of perjury.

Its also about whether that individual was overpaid for the work that they allegedly did.

I say "allegedly" because after speaking with Employee Services again this morning in Salem, I've found the only way so far to independently verify if Adela Dalto showed up to work in her son's Salem offices at the Capitol is to review security tapes filmed during the 3 month period she was supposed to have been there. Either that, or someone not affiliated with Billy Dalto, his staff or his campaign would have to come forward to say that they saw her and/or spoke to her during that time.

Mom came to Oregon at my request to help me in my legislative office after session ended. I was headed back to work and I needed reliable short term help in my office with constituent calls, emails, letters and other office responsibilities. She lived and worked in Salem and mom filled the responsibility well, helping my constituents with tasks like getting copies of missing medical records and connecting them with state agencies. She was paid directly by the Legislative Assembly and paid taxes on the income she earned.

I already demonstrated that Employee Services says Mrs. Dalto was paid by the Legislative Assembly. That was never in question. I would imagine she'd have to pay taxes on that money because the Legislative Assembly would have reported it to the IRS. Again, not in question.

As I said, I don’t know much about mom’s financial affairs. It’s none of my business. As far as I understand, mom worked with an attorney to start the process of filing whatever paperwork you’re referring to prior to me asking her to come and help me in my office. Her income was minimal because she was going back to school – something she didn’t have time to do as a single mother to two boys. If there are any mistakes in the filing, they would have come as an oversight and will be corrected. Why would my opponent automatically assume that there was some kind of malicious intent?

I honestly could care less why Mrs. Dalto filed for bankruptcy. I care even less that she did it at all, its none of my business. What I care about is why money she was supposed to have received from Oregon taxpayers wasn't declared on the paperwork she signed.

That paperwork was filed WEEKS after Mrs Dalto was hired to work for $3500 per month. She obviously had a lawyer or two helping her out on this as well because there are $800 of legal costs declared on the paperwork. Its not like she didn't have legal aid.

It simply doesn't make sense. And Oregonians have every right and responsibility to know what's going on with their tax dollars whether Billy Dalto likes it or not.

The fact is that campaigns should be about issues important to voters like the economy, education, and the health and safety of their families. My opponent is clearly so desperate to win that he feels the need to make disgusting personal attacks on my family. Fortunately voters are smart enough to see through this.

Interesting. So the use and accounting of Oregonian's taxpayer dollars isn't an issue important to voters? I think perhaps Representative Dalto is underestimating the electorate. It seems to me that this isn't about voters being "smart enough". Its about Billy Dalto thinking that voters are stupid and will buy into more spin.

One final note, Marilyn Shannon has no idea what she’s talking about – she’s a political gadfly who wasn’t even there. Marilyn has her own axe to grind – she twice tried to recruit a primary opponent against me. I didn’t respond to her comment because Republicans don't take her seriously. Ironic then that her comments would be picked up here – one would think that her credibility with this blog is about zero.

So Dalto wants a campaign about issues...but has no problem taking a nasty swipe at Marilyn Shannon. What axe specifically does Marilyn Shannon have to grind--especially as a commentor on a Republican blog? The primary is long over. Its not as if she is cheering Brian Clem on to victory, for crying out loud. I'd imagine as a conservative, Shannon would rather see Dalto in the seat than Clem.

Dalto certainly did learn that "kill the messenger" lesson well. Looks to me like he could teach the class on it.

Legitimate questions about the use and accountability of taxpayer dollars through the office of Representative Billy Dalto remain unanswered. Oregonians deserve to know.

Step up and answer them, Representative Dalto.