Behind in the polls and struggling to jumpstart his floundering Congressional campaign, Scott Peters tried to divert attention from his refusal to release his taxes with an attack on former Speaker Pro Tem Lori Saldana.
The attack, based upon old newspaper articles, criticized Saldana's support for labor and consumer-backed legislation, claiming she supported "special interests."
“Everything cited in the Peters’ press release has been public for years. Yet Mr. Peters doesn’t believe in applying transparency to himself,” Joe Kocurek, a Saldaña spokesperson, said.
"This is a smear by a candidate who is losing the campaign and who is facing a growing chorus of public criticism for refusing to subject his tax returns to public scrutiny," he said. “Just this week, President Obama signed a bill to ban insider trading by members of Congress.
“The public has the right to know what Mr. Peters’ sources of income are; what tax breaks and loopholes he has utilized; and how much tax he pays,” he said.
Several weeks ago, Ms. Saldana made her tax returns public and asked the other candidates in the race to do the same.
“Congressman Bilbray has responded to former Speaker Pro Tem Saldana’s challenge to release his taxes," Kocurek stated. "Even Mr. Peters’ La Jolla neighbor, Mitt Romney, released his taxes.”
Peters attack on Saldana cited two trips she took. "No taxpayer dollars were ever used by Ms. Saldana on her trade missions," Kocurek said."Their purpose was to help expand and grow California’s economy. This is in stark contrast to the $660,000 in taxpayer money Mr. Peters spent on legal fees when he was found grossly negligent by the SEC for mismanaging the city of San Diego’s budget.”
On one mission, Ms. Saldana, a co-author of California's landmark Greehouse Gas Reduction Act, visited a rural swine farm in Brazil in order to examine the latest technology for creating methane gas as an alternative fuel.
The spokesman said that Ms. Saldana is proud of her 100% Sierra Club record and her support for consumer-backed bills, including the two cited by Mr. Peters.
One bill to expand public access to broadband internet to low-income familes, was supported by the California Labor Federation and the American Heart Association and passed the Assembly unanimously, 77-0.
The second bill, to target green energy efforts on low income rental units, was supported by the Western Center for Law and Poverty, the consumer group TURN, and passed the Assembly.
"Mr. Peters’ press release is filled with factual inaccuracies and mischaracterizations." Kocurek stated.
“The candidate who is behind in the polls is always the first to attack,” he said.