It's difficult to believe - as is most everything this political season - the state is suing only Moxie Media of Seattle for possibly misleading voters about an election campaign. It was Moxie's mystery ads that helped unseat incumbent Democrat state senator Jean Berkey of Everett - mystery because it's not clear who, exactly, paid to have them run. In some instances, Moxie itself paid for the ads, something Berkey calls a "shell game." That applies to other ads, mailers and claims by dueling camps in what appears to be the most misleading political season since the state's truth-in-campaign law was struck down five years ago. A few examples:
- DelBene, in a commercial, claimed Reichert "promised he'd never raise taxes and then turned around and voted for $31 billion in higher taxes on families and small businesses." Actually, Reichert voted against a bill that continued $31 billion in tax credits for individuals and businesses. Voting against it and therefore attempting to take away an existing tax break, DelBene said, is the same as raising taxes.
- In a mailer, the Washington State Republican party criticized Democrat state Rep. Troy Kelley, D-Tacoma, for his votes supporting "record-breaking spending increases." In the same mailer, the GOP criticized him for supporting spending cuts.
- U.S. Senate candidate Dino Rossi, who boasted about how he balanced the state budget while in Olympia, said he could cut $800 billion from the federal government immediately. He'd cut the $275 billion in remaining stimulus money and $30 billion in federal employee raises; he'd save $35 billion by reducing the federal workforce and $400 billion by ending the TARP bailout. "I just gave you about 800" billion in reductions, he said. "It's all there." Actually, it's half there. About $388 billion of the TARP money has already been spent.
- People for Jobs, a pro-business political action committee, sent off at least three mailers targeting state Rep. Chris Marr, D-Spokane, including one that focused on the theft of $431,376 from a victims' compensation fund - which Marr had nothing to do with. He was also criticized for voting to support the Olympic Marmot as the state's official endemic mammal.
- In a press release, Sen. Patty Murray said Rossi insulted "millions of American troops and others who serve their country" when he told radio host Laura Ingraham "You have a bunch of people that are in charge that have never actually had a private sector job and a meaningful one in their adult life." Said a Murray spokesperson, "It is quite simply disgraceful that Dino Rossi would say our troops, teachers, police and firefighters' service to our nation is not meaningful in any way." Rossi was answering a question regarding only White House staff.
- A TV ad sponsored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee claimed Murray voted for "a failed stimulus that didn't create jobs." According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, stimulus legislation "increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million" in the second quarter of this year.
-Third Dist. Democrat congressional candidate Denny Heck repeatedly claimed Republican opponent Jaime Herrera wants to privatize Social Security. She doesn't. Herrera, conversely, said "America's economy is under fire and it's happening on Denny Heck's watch." He's not an elected official. Yet.
- Everything said in the Pam Roach campaign.
And here's Slate's look at some of the worst political ads nationwide.
Don't forget to hold your nose and vote Tuesday.