Friday, October 20, 2006

Peralta, News-Register Let Nelson Off Hook

Well, sort of. The good news is that the McMinnville paper published the story on the push calling done on HD24 candidate Donna Nelson's behalf, against Sal Peralta. It's not clear whether they caught wind of the story from Peralta or LoadedO, or fell into the story while the two candidates appeared on the radio talk show of the woefully named Larry Bohnsack. But Peralta made a point of putting it into the public's ear on the radio, and that led to a whole lot of backpedaling and "we had no IDEA!" responses.

The article essentially exonerates the Farm Bureau, and it seems true that they were not doing the scriptwriting or bothering to check up on the facts, and accepted the script at face value. At least, that's what Sal says Executive Vice-President Dave Dillon told him last night--they approved that script, not knowing it was false.

Today, however, Dillon changed his tune:
The Farm Bureau's vice president, Dave Dillon, disavowed it. He said it would not be included again.

"The script we approved was apparently not the one that was read to people on the phone last night," Dillon told the News-Register. "Somewhere, there was a miscommunication on the script that we would be comfortable with..." He said he had personally reviewed and edited a replacement script containing no references to Peralta. [emph mine]
Sure--after the bad one had been running! Now Dillon is saying the script wasn't OK, and Dillon even intimates he saw a script they weren't comfortable with, and the message to not use it just didn't sink in. Last night, Dillon was telling Peralta that they just took on faith he was a tool of outside unions, and so the calls were warranted. Now he claims he knew Peralta wasn't a tool, but the phone bankers didn't get the message. I smell a sloppy disavowal!

Dillon is playing a little ass-covering game here, but ultimately it's plausible that the Farm Bureau was simply the banker for the phone bank, and didn't much trouble itself with the campaign details. However, the Register failed to mention the animosity between Peralta and the Farm Bureau (and Nelson) , regarding the minimum wage reduction bill both the Republican and the lobby supported in the last session. Think the Farm Bureau has no real interest in what the phone banking is about? The paper allows Dillon to appear far more disinterested than they likely were in taking down Peralta.

And what about Nelson? The paper seems to clear her, and Peralta gives them the opening by casting the controversy as evidence that his campaign is on the right track to seek abolishment of special interest campaign funding. But two things belie her claim to innocence: remember from Peralta's press release, Nelson's campaign manager specifically asked Peralta if he was taking Portland union money. And now the allegation (responded to with a big 'No' by the way) is showing up entirely coincidentally in Nelson--supported advertising? Suuuuuure.

OK, but Peralta takes the high road and gives Nelson the benefit of the doubt. What does she do in response to pay back the largesse?
During the candidates' KLYC exchange, Nelson took a swipe at Peralta, saying Democratic Party operative Howard Dean was behind his website. In a subsequent e-mail to this reporter, she said the site "likely has received funds from corporations, lobby groups, as well as citizens."

Peralta, who has a professional background in computer programming and website development, called that charge "flat-out false." He said he built his own website, located at, and hosts it on his own server.
Can you be any more mendacious and bitchy? She denies and deplores one untruthful "special interest money" smear...but then keeps hitting the "rich outsiders" theme, KNOWING that the rich outsiders are overwhelmingly backing candidates from her party.

Sal is gracious enough to hold up his end of the bargain and refrain from attacking Donna Nelson personally. But Jesus, she couldn't even wait until the radio show was over to sell him out for the very same thing she just had to wiggle out of! I repeat myself: Donna Nelson is a corrupted, co-opted proxy candidate being managed from the desk of Chuck Adams, and fueled by Hoffman/Gateway Communications hit pieces. An estimated 15-20 races have featured Gateway materials of some kind, most of them the same piece with minor tailorings to geography. Will the News Register pick up the scent and keep digging? Or will they quit worrying about the Farm Bureau and Chuck Adams and report the "real" news?