From the shadowy reaches of futuristic-sounding "robo calls" springs this week's Rogue—an as yet nameless narc of nonelection-year nefariousness.
Last week, Oregon House District 30 got blasted with anonymous phone calls slamming state Rep. David Edwards (D-Hillsboro) for alleged ethics violations. Trouble is, those charges have the same degree of, shall we say, "truthiness" as U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' recent claim that he had little to do with the firings of eight federal prosecutors.
Caller ID revealed the automated messages about Edwards came from a number listed as 000-0000. Here's what the phone call said:
"First, David Edwards voted against a ban on accepting gifts from lobbyists. Now he's being investigated for possible violations of rules prohibiting campaign contributions during the legislative session. Call David Edwards at 503-986-1430 and tell him to clean up his act."
The only current investigation remotely related to Edwards is one prompted by the Oregon Republican Party. On March 20, party Chairman Vance Day wrote the state elections office to allege that Our Oregon, a labor-backed nonprofit group, violated election law when it recently mailed postcards to Edwards' constituents about a town hall meeting with their representative.
But the Secretary of State's office says Our Oregon's actions were legit. And as the Loaded Orygun blog points out, the claim that Edwards voted against the lobbyist gift ban is misleading since he did vote for a law to strengthen those regulations.
State Republican Party spokesman Shawn Cleave says the party had nothing to do with the robo calls but did spread news of the complaint by email.
To state Sen. Rick Metsger (D-Welches), who has co-sponsored new legislation that would curb robo calls, SB 863 and SJR 33, the messages are a perfect example of their menace. "They're so prolific and they're so cheap," says Metsger. "You can use them for all sorts of skulduggery without being held accountable."