WASHINGTON – Campaign officials for U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany lashed out at tea party-related advertisements that falsely accused him of not signing the so-called Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
The Tea Party of Lafayette, now called Geaux Free TPL, which is backing fellow incumbent Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, in the Nov. 6 race, retracted advertising pamphlets that criticized Boustany.
In addition to the mistake on the tax pledge, the pamphlet also falsely claimed that Landry was the only candidate in the race backed by the anti-abortion organization, the National Right to Life Committee. The group has, in fact, endorsed both Boustany and Landry.
Boustany and Landry were thrown into the same 3rd Congressional District after Louisiana lost one of its seven seats because of stagnant population growth since the 2000 census. Also in the race are three candidates from Lake Charles — Democrat Ron Richard, Republican Bryan Barrilleaux and Libertarian Jim Stark.
Geaux Free TPL produced the pamphlets in cooperation with the Washington, D.C.-based FreedomWorks group, which is a conservative organization that has helped to further organize the tea-party movement nationwide.
The Boustany camp argued that the ads were intentionally false attacks, but Geaux Free TPL Coordinator Joyce Linde said the mistakes were accidental and are being corrected.
“It was not in our initial pamphlets,” Linde said of the tax pledge error. “It was inserted by FreedomWorks or the graphics artist ... Nothing was done intentionally.”
Linde later called back and blamed editing typos for the mistakes. She praised the support from FreedomWorks. Linde was recently named FreedomWorks’ local field director.
The Taxpayer Protection Pledge was the brainchild of the national group, Americans for Tax Reform, and its founder and president, Grover Norquist.
All seven Republicans in the Louisiana congressional delegation have signed the pledge not to support any tax increases, including both Boustany and Landry.
Boustany has said he does not plan to sign the pledge again, which Linde said will be noted in the revised pamphlets.
But Boustany also has said he does not need to sign the pledge again because his original signature is binding and there is no reason to sign it over and over again. He reiterated that he will oppose any proposed tax hikes.
Linde was critical of Boustany for lashing out at the tea-party group for what she called an accidental mistake.
“If that’s the best he can seize on, he needs to find something else,” Linde said.
The original pamphlet falsely read, “Rep. Charles Boustany has never signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.”
Boustany’s campaign manager, John Porter, followed up Wednesday afternoon with a letter to Matt Kibbe, FreedomWorks’ president and chief executive officer, demanding to know how the errors were made, who signed off on them and what will be the repercussions for those responsible.
“The public deserves to be fully informed about the mistakes that mar your credibility and impair the public debate,” Porter wrote. “There is no place in politics for these egregious tactics of behavior and oversight.”