Opinion: Memo to Independent Expenditures Committees - Attacking an agency providing vital services to vulnerable communities is a bridge too far

Clients and employees of Asian Recources Inc. have been put in a dangerous position by 
advertisements attacking the agency. | 

By D. A. Gougherty | 

Smear campaigns filled with distortions, half-truths, and outright lies are part and parcel of political campaigns. Elk Grove and Sacramento voters making their selection between candidates in the State Senate District 8 and California State Assembly District 10 races have been barraged in the last few weeks with a long list of distortions about the candidates.  

Most candidates know and expect this behavior. It's part of the game.

But what happens when a bystander becomes victimized by independent expenditure committees? Unfortunately, this week we saw an example.

A group funded by the California Association of Realtors launched a series of attack mailers that tied in Asian Resources Inc., a leading non-profit organization offering various services to all vulnerable communities, into the campaign. Not coincidentally, ARI's executive director is Stephanie Nguyen, one of the candidates in the heated Assembly District 10 contest.

Without going into detail, so we don't amplify lies, ARI and its employees were brought into the campaign in a reprehensible manner. Unfortunately, in our day and age, CAR-funded advertisements have put ARI employees and clientele at risk with all the kooks who can take any lie and misinformation and use it as a justification to target minority and vulnerable communities.

A few days ago, Nguyen, acting as ARI's executive director, announced the agency would be seeking legal remedies against the CAR-supported committee paying for the ads. We believe in vigorous campaigns but not when non-associated people or entities can become unwitting collateral damage. 

Lie all you want about candidates, but to attack an agency providing vital services to vulnerable communities is a bridge too far.     

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1 comment

Atticus Finch said...

Well said Dan. Couldn't have said it any better myself. It's a sad testament to the state of our political affairs. Personal attacks, whether it be against individuals or organizations have devolved to a point where it has displaced civil discourse and disagreement. What once was, I don't agree with your stance or position because of x, y and z, has turned into, not only do I not agree with your position, but I will attack and tear you down as a person/organization because it doesn't conform to my beliefs and ideas, using any means necessary, truth be damned. It's the ol scorched earth approach. I am really afraid for our democracy and our Constitution.

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