Reporter Blake Morlock, writing in the Tucson Citizen, recently noted:
“The first real dust-up among Democrats seeking to replace retiring Republican congressman Jim Kolbe is turning on who pays for campaigns. Patty Weiss, a former newscaster, accused former state Senator Gabrielle Giffords of coming late to the idea that government should fund federal Campaigns.”
That could be a powerful indictment, except that while it makes tough-sounding campaign rhetoric it falls short of accurate reporting.
On the occasion of Giffords’s signing of the “Voters First Pledge,” which calls for public financing of election campaigns, the Giffords campaign published excerpts from a letter by Charlene Bozack who served as the Executive Director of the Clean Elections Institute from 1999-2001. The letter praised Giffords’s record of strong support of campaign finance reform.
The letter says, ““without your strong commitment to seeing that the [Clean Elections] law not be overturned, the State of Arizona would not have such a system today.” The letter hailed Giffords for having “stood firm in your support of the system when it was under challenges at the state legislature,” and noted that Giffords “helped strategize with me to make sure the system did not get overturned in the legislature.”
The Giffords campaign continued: “Giffords also has a record of fighting to preserve fair elections by ensuring that a paper trail exists for voting machines. In 2004, Giffords authored a Senate floor amendment to the Help America Votes Act (HB 2083). Her amendment required all voting machines purchased after April 1, 2004 to provide a paper statement of each person’s vote. The amendment was approved and the Senate passed the bill with Giffords’ amendment.” (Reference link.)
Now what are we to make of all this? Either Weiss knew Giffords's record and deliberately ignored it for purposes of political aggrandizement, or she didn’t know Giffords’s record of support for election finance reform and simply said what sounded good without checking. Take your choice. Odd behavior for a “journalist.”
Giffords was on NPR today. Check her interview out here. Link