Photos used in anti-tax fliers irk Democrats

Democrats and Republicans are brawling over an anti-tax group’s campaign fliers, just a day after the parties hailed an agreement on a rainy day fund as a bipartisan milestone.

House Democrats are angry over postcards sent by the Oregon chapter of FreedomWorks, an anti-tax group whose director is the vice chairman of the Oregon GOP. The postcards were sent to the districts of six Democratic lawmakers, targeting them for their support of the agreement to suspend corporate tax credits and use the money for a state savings account.

advertisement The legislators – Mike Schaufler of Happy Valley, Chuck Riley of Hillsboro, David Edwards of Hillsboro, Terry Beyer of Springfield, Betty Komp of Woodburn and Chris Edwards from Eugene – are from potential swing districts.

Democrats complained that three of the fliers featured photographs paid for by taxpayers – a violation of internal House and Senate rules.

Speaker of the House Jeff Merkley, D-Portland, wrote to House Minority Leader Wayne Scott, R-Canby, that he knew of only three copies of a DVD that contained the photos taken during opening-day ceremonies.

Merkley wrote that one was kept in his office and another was housed in the office of Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem. The third, Merkley says, went to Scott’s office.

“My staff assures me that they did not provide these official photographs to Oregon FreedomWorks,” Merkley wrote to Scott, in a letter also copied to Courtney. “It seems apparent that the person who provided these photos to Oregon FreedomWorks is in likely violation of both rules and statutes.”

Russ Walker, FreedomWorks’ director in Oregon, said he doesn’t know where the group got the photos. “I have to talk to my attorneys,” Walker said. “We would never have used those photos if we thought they were violating the law.”

But he said Democrats were dodging the central issue of tax increases.