By Sarah Fenske
This just in: Congressman John Shadegg's campaign appears to be using some pretty shady surrogates.
And no, I'm not talking about Shadegg's fellow Republican congressman, Rick Renzi, who's awaiting trial on a host of felony counts. Or former Arizona Attorney General (and fellow Republican) Jack LaSota, who's apparently making big bucks making robo-calls on behalf of payday lenders.
Nope, when it comes to connecting you with shady people, Congressman Shadegg's campaign takes the cake: They're apparently using felons and at least one sex offender to work the phone banks.
As first reported on the Politico Web site, the Shadegg campaign has paid at least three men with dubious pasts to work its phone banks. One guy, records suggest, did two years in the Arizona Department of Corrections for vehicle theft and burglary. Another did nearly four years for burglary. And the third phone bank worker may well be the creepiest: This 24-year-old male is a registered sex offender who had "sexal contact with a minor," according to the state's registry. The state labels him an "intermediate" risk.
Normally, we don't get too worked up about the whole a-sex-offender-just-moved-into-my-neighborhood thing. But this is a little different. Phone bank workers presumably have access to both the names and addresses of the registered voters that they're dialing. And, naturally, if a kid picks up the phone, their first question ought to be, "Are your parents home?"
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Really, don't you think anybody with access to this information -- much less the reelection campaign of a sitting congressman -- ought to be a little careful with it?
I called the Shadegg campaign for comment, but hadn't heard back by press time. This isn't exactly unusual. I've been trying, on and off, to reach them for the last two weeks for this or that and have yet to get a call back for anything. Kind of frustrating -- especially since Shadegg is, by all accounts, facing the toughest challenge of his political career from Democratic attorney Bob Lord. The Dems are throwing a ton of money into this race -- unseating the reliably conservative Shadegg has become a major lefty cause.
In times like these, you'd think we could get a call back -- or at least minimal screening over at campaign headquarters. Think maybe they've been a little distracted?