Monday, March 27, 2006
Desperate Rivals Try to Smear Dellums with Questions about His Lobbying Days
"It's starting to get personal in the Oakland mayor's race -- and the focus is front-runner Ron Dellums' post-congressional career as a Washington lobbyist.
In their efforts to escape Dellums' shadow, rivals Nancy Nadel and Ignacio De La Fuente are going after the longtime congressman's reputation for political purity. The targets include his refusal to release tax returns, questions over how his profession would be described on the ballot -- and his recent service in the revolving-door ranks of lawmakers-turned-lobbyists.
"The voters have a right to know what we've done and what we've earned for the last eight years,'' De La Fuente said at a news conference Thursday, pressing Dellums to join him in releasing his income taxes.
"There is nothing wrong with being an honorable lobbyist,'' Dellums told The Chronicle, adding that the only people questioning his time as a lobbyist were his mayoral rivals.
Dellums' work on behalf of ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has also come under scrutiny.
According to several published accounts, Dellums was paid $571,000 by Aristide in 2001 and 2002 to help improve his relations with the U.S. government and international lenders.
Dellums makes no apologies for his work for Aristide, who was overthrown in a rebellion in 2004.
"It was a dark day in American history (when the U.S. government) allowed a democratically elected president to go down in this hemisphere,'' he said. "I'm proud of the work I did there.''
While I think the public does have a right to know what happened during his days as a lobbyist, what I smell here is a smear job by the Chron...I mean where are the discussions of his positions on the issues, his record in Congress, or his vision of where the city should be headed? There are subtle ways of framing and trying to box in a candidate and the this op-ed seems to suggest shadowy or unethical lobbying activities. In this case, it's hard for me to trust a paper that is clearly in the corner of Gavin Newsom.