FreedomWorks/Oregon filed a complaint with the state Elections Division on Monday, accusing House Democrats of lying when they sent out mailers saying the nonprofit political committee supports a national sales tax.
The group, formerly known as Citizens for a Sound Economy, supports a sales tax, but “only if no income taxes are allowed,” said its state director, Russ Walker.
“And we don’t think that will ever happen,” Walker said.
Walker will need to file his complaint in circuit court, said Norma Buckno, state elections compliance specialist. She said Oregon law does not give her office jurisdiction over false statements in campaign advertising.
Walker said his group, a national committee in favor of smaller government, has argued for a flat 10 percent tax on income. The group would support either a sales tax or a flat tax, but not both.
One mailer sent by Future PAC, the House Democrats political action committee, takes aim at Republican Al Shannon, who is running against Democrat Betty Komp in House District 22, in the Woodburn area.
“Al Shannon is an active member of the group that supports imposing a national sales tax on Oregon,” the flyer reads.
House Minority Leader Jeff Merkley, D-Portland, defended the mailer as accurate and fair because FreedomWorks has consistently pushed the sales tax idea.
“We have not said Al Shannon backs a sales tax,” Merkley said. “He is being backed by a group that says he is a key member of their group, and their group has put this forward as an option.”
Merkley also blasted Shannon for saying Komp supports a sales tax, when she does not. Shannon’s characterization of Komp’s stand prompted a group of Republicans to issue its own mailer asking him to stop his “personal attacks.”
Janie Har: 503-221-8213; firstname.lastname@example.org