Voters expect politicians to say crazy things, and many do. Witness Vice President Joe Biden’s statement that the resolution to America’s economic problems is “a three-letter word: Jobs, J-O-B-S. Jobs!”
But when a politician says something that outrages voters, and then leads those same voters to believe it was his opponent making the statement, it goes too far, and lawsuits are filed. And that’s exactly what’s happening in Oregon in a hotly contested race for the congressional seat held by leading progressive Democrat, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio.
The lawsuit has been filed by Art Robinson, a well-known scientist in the medical and biochemical research fields who is challenging the longtime incumbent DeFazio.
According to the complaint, DeFazio routinely excerpts a few words, partial quotes or sentence fragments from the wide range of writing and speaking Robinson has done over the years, twists the words into saying something truly outrageous and attributes it to Robinson.
For example: “Defendant posted a cartoon political advertisement on the Internet falsely attributing to the plaintiff the statement ‘Social Security was only created because people got tired of seeing senior citizens selling pencils on the corner.’
“The reference in the cartoon, when checked, reveals that the referenced statement was not made by the plaintiff. Instead, defendant’s reference was to a newspaper which reported that people in the 1930s ‘got tired of seeing senior citizens selling pencils on the corner’ with the quote attributed to the defendant himself,” the complaint explains.
“Remarkably, defendant quoted himself out of context and attributed the quote to the plaintiff,” it said.
The DeFazio billboard campaign is designed to trick voters into thinking Robinson erected the signs, not DeFazio, said Robinson. In fact, he told WND, he obtained results of a survey revealing that fully one-third of voters “who have read the billboards believe that the billboards were paid for and promoted by plaintiff, and that 20 percent of the voters are uncertain.”
The complaint says the polls “also show that the billboards cause a large shift in voter sentiment away from plaintiff and toward defendant and that this shift is reversed when these voters are informed that the billboards were actually paid for and published by defendant.”
It is illegal to put out false statements and design them so that people will think it’s the other campaign’s ad, the complaint argues.
A statement from the Robinson campaign said the DeFazio campaign apparently took Robinson’s idea of posting inexpensive signs stating his policies and moved them to billboards.
“The DeFazio billboards feature Art Robinson’s picture, name, and text falsely suggesting that Art will work to close the public schools, stop Social Security payments, and stop federal student aid to college students. Art is pictured advertising these things. Many motorists who read these signs know that these are not Art’s policies, but polls show that 33 percent of motorists who read the signs believe that they were put up by Art, the candidate pictured on the sign, to promote his actual policies. Predictably, the signs make them less likely to vote for Art,” the campaign said in a statement.
“A poll taken by the Robinson campaign shows that, already, there are more than 30,000 Oregon voters who have been deceived into believing that Art put up these DeFazio billboards (33 percent of the more than 100,000 who have seen the signs, with a margin of error giving a 99 percent probability that the number is greater than 25,000), far more than necessary to decide the election. At least an additional 20,000 voters are unsure who put these billboards up. And, these numbers are growing daily.”
Robinson noted that campaign materials are required by federal law to have an easily readable “disclaimer,” telling the reader who posted the ad.
“The law is meant to prevent just the sort of campaign that DeFazio is now waging. Four of the DeFazio billboards do have a ‘disclaimer’ deliberately printed with small thin print in light gray so that it is difficult or impossible for the passing motorist to read. This violates the law. Even more remarkably, three of the DeFazio billboards have no disclaimer at all. There is nothing whatever on the billboards to indicate their source other than Art Robinson’s name in giant print and a large picture of him,” the campaign said.
The long record of bizarre dirty tricks DeFazio has resorted to in his efforts to fend off Robinson’s congressional challenge has previously been exposed by WND Managing Editor David Kupelian.
DeFazio, a far-left Democrat and co-founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is “so desperate to hang on to his coveted congressional seat he’s occupied for 26 years,” wrote Kupelian, “that he’s willing to blatantly libel and slander his opponent with wild untruths, all crafted to scare voters right before election time – just as he did in 2010 when Robinson first challenged the long-entrenched Democrat.”
He reported that in 2010, DeFazio’s “attack machine ran a series of outrageous television, print and online ads accusing Robinson of being funded by Big Oil, of being in the pocket of Wall Street, of planning on shutting down the nation’s public schools, of planning the demise of the Social Security system – and even of plotting to put radioactive waste in Americans’ drinking water! Oh, and he was also called a racist (of course).”
WND requested a comment from the DeFazio campaign and was told a statement would be sent by email. It didn’t arrive.
Kupelian has reported that while DeFazio has supported Obamacare and partial birth abortion, Robinson is a Ph.D. research scientist of international stature who co-founded, with Nobel-winner Linus Pauling, the Linus Pauling Institute in Menlo Park, Calif.
Then in 1980, with the help of his chemist wife Laurelee, Robinson, famed biochemist Martin Kamen and Nobel Laureate Bruce Merrifield founded the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. While carrying out influential research, Art and Laurelee also raised and homeschooled their six children on 350 idyllic acres in southern Oregon.
When Laurelee died suddenly, Robinson was left alone to care for his children ranging from 18 months up to 12 years of age, so he restructured their homeschooling curriculum in such a way that his children could, to a considerable extent, teach themselves.
“He also eventually packaged the curriculum and offered it to the homeschooling world. ‘The Robinson Curriculum’ apparently works pretty well, as today all six of Art’s children either have doctorate degrees or will shortly. One has a chemistry Ph.D., two have doctorates in veterinary medicine, and one just received his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering, while the last two are in the Oregon State University graduate program working toward their own nuclear engineering Ph.D.s,” Kupelian reported.
A statement today from the Robinson campaign said that in 2010, DeFazio “posted thousands of Internet ads with Art’s picture that looked like ads from Art’s campaign. Clicking on the ads led to content distorting Art’s positions. In 2010, DeFazio posted a billboard on Highway 5 with Art’s picture and designed to look like Art’s advertisement that read ‘Energy company CEOs shouldn’t pay taxes’ – a position Art has certainly not taken.
“Art has filed in the Josephine County Court a $1 million lawsuit against Peter DeFazio. DeFazio’s misrepresentations of Art on highway and roadside billboards (with Art’s picture and name and without the lawfully required disclaimers clearly attributing the billboards to DeFazio and carried out so close to the voting that no correction could be implemented in time) was the last straw,” the campaign said.
The lawsuit alleges, “Defendant acted intentionally, with knowledge of, or with reckless disregard of the falsity of the publicized matter and of the false light in which defendant placed plaintiff.”