An item from Clark County I missed last week while on vacation strikes me as emblematic of the problems facing Republicans up and down the ticket. They’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel in a suburban swing district that traditionally should be full of likely Republican candidates.
It seems the candidate the GOP found to take out Rep. Jim Dunn, R-Vancouver, who was disciplined by Republican leadership for inappropriate comments to a female staffer and subsequently lost in the primary this year, has some issues of his own.
Last Wednesday The Columbian reported that Republican Joseph James, who is on the general election ballot along with Democrat Tim Probst in the 17th LD, is accused by a local couple of improperly listing a payment made to James’ dog boarding business as a contribution to his political campaign. From The Columbian on Oct. 22:
Thomas and Beth Baker boarded their dog at Joseph James’ dog boarding business in Stevenson several times last year, and usually paid by check.
But the last time they used the service, the Camas couple put the $200 fee on a credit card. When their statement came, they were surprised to learn that the payment had gone to an organization called Complete Campaigns, which offers Web-based services to help campaigns track supporters, votes, fund-raising and volunteers.
James, a Republican who is running for an open House seat in the 17th District, paid the San Diego company $311 in credit card processing fees between Dec. 24, 2007, and Jan. 15, 2008, according to state campaign finance records.
On Jan. 2, James’ campaign reported a $200 contribution from Thomas Baker.
Baker said he never intended for his dog care payment to end up in James’ campaign chest.
James did not return calls to his campaign office and mobile phone seeking comment.
I’ve heard of a lot of lowly actions by Republicans, but taking a customer’s money and trying to make it appear as a campaign contribution without the customers’ knowledge is a fascinating twist. How would anyone want this guy voting on a state budget?
This isn’t the first time James has drawn attention to himself for questionable campaign activity. In February Aneurin at Politics is a Blood Sport ran down James’ claims about having an “MBA” from a place called “Almeda” University.
Who’s Almeda University? Almeda, a website with a post office box located in Boise, Idaho, offers online distance learning and confers degrees based on “life experience”. And there’s the slight issue of accreditation, in other words, there is none from any recognizable accreditation organization.
And in August of this year Chris Mulick took a look at some of James’ spurious claims on transportation and apparent gross over-inflation of fundraising totals.
By claiming a $3,000 monthly in-kind contribution for use of personal space as a campaign and a $700 in-kind contribution for use of a personal vehicle the James campaign haul has been bolstered by $41,000.
Mulick also posted some highly entertaining videos James put up on the YouTube, if you wish to click through.
Contrast James as a candidate with Democrat Tim Probst, a former Republican who once worked for the governor of Illinois and is well versed in economic policy. Which party is actually a big tent and which party is attracting talent and leadership? Maybe we once could (sorta kinda) afford to have buffoons like Jim Dunn or Joseph James in office, but with hard times on the horizon we need all the smart people we can get doing the public’s business.
Being a quality candidate or public official, it turns out, requires more than money and pre-fabricated dogma. In the 17th LD you can chalk up another EPIC FAIL for the GOP Party on that score.