David Stafford Reade ran against Sam Aanestad in 1996 for Assembly. There is a particular hatred for Aanestad in the entire LaMalfa / Gilliard / Reade crew.
Click here to see an ad run against David Reade in 1996. Reade was exposed for having three DUI’s, including one with possession of narcotics. It would be reasonable to assume that David Stafford Reade may well have been involved in this illegal operation as well.
By the standards of political flame wars, nothing on the anti-Sam Aanestad website www.sam4congress.com was all that scorching.
He’d had a high-dollar state car as a legislator? Well, him and every other member of the Assembly and Senate until budget cuts yanked that perk last year.
He’d cast an occasional vote that deviated from the conservative line? Independent thinking! The horror!
The Record Searchlight had printed unkind editorials about him? True! And not a rare experience for north state politicians.
But the site’s weaselly tactics — and the LaMalfa congressional campaign’s craven response to rival Aanestad’s complaints — are not just cowardly but also, arguably, a violation of federal election laws. The heart of those rules is disclosure of who’s behind political statements. You know, “I’m Wally Herger and I approve this message.”
Well, Aanestad’s campaign offered credible evidence — subpoenaed from the domain-name host — that none other than LaMalfa’s Senate chief of staff and congressional campaign aide, Mark Spannagel, had registered the site last month. So did the campaign stand behind its work, as a decent sense of fair play and the law demand?
On the contrary. Initially, the site was attributed to “Free Thinkers for D’Acquisto” — presumably trying to pin the negative anti-Aanestad campaigning on yet another Republican candidate for the seat, Redding lawyer Michael Dacquisto. After Dacquisto raised complaints a few weeks back, that “credit” disppeared. Then Tuesday morning, shortly after Aanestad’s campaign released the evidence of a Spannagel connection, the site abruptly went dark. Just when it was getting noticed — where’s the pride in its craftsmanship?
Then, Tuesday afternoon, LaMalfa’s campaign released a laughable statement denying that he or his campaign “had any knowledge or involvement in the construction or posting of the website in question.” Right, it was an independent expenditure — by LaMalfa’s chief of staff.
It’s not as if an obscure website skewering a rival is the gravest sin in politics. Heck, political news junkies will see worse this week.
But as Aanestad accurately pointed out at a press conference Tuesday, this bit of juvenile underhandedness is the sort of dirty trick LaMalfa and his political entourage have long made a specialty. This is the guy who, back in 2004, sent out ads linking Tehama County Supervisor Barbara McIver and pornographer Larry Flynt.
Politics is a contact sport, to be sure, but if this is how people get to Congress, is it any wonder the voters don’t trust politicians in Washington?