The unbelievable stupidity of Senator Doug Whitsett

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Dougwhitsettletter_1Q: What's the first thing they teach you in "How to be an Elected Official" school?

A: Above all else, don't use government funds for campaign purposes. There's no faster or surer way to land an ethics charge - or even a criminal charge.

Now, I don't know which category this falls into - but it's definitely in the Unbelievably Stupid category. State Senator Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls) sent out a letter to the lobby last month on state letterhead that included the following:

While this is an off-cycle for me and I will not need to run for election, I plan on being actively involved in campaigns. ... Your contribution of $2,500, $1,000 or $500 can help me continue this effort. ...

Raising campaign money. From lobbyists. On state letterhead. Who is he kidding? (Click here to see a scanned copy of the letter.)

I mean, he even checked the box to have the contributions sent to his State Capitol office!

Of course, Whitsett is the same guy who got a Rogue of the Week from Willamette Week back in May. At the time, WW said this:

We'll give this week's Rogue, Sen. Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls), an "A" for audacity but an "F'' for fairness and disclosure.

Looks like we have a pattern, folks. Unfortunately, the good folks of K-Falls are stuck with this guy through 2008. That is, unless the powers-that-be see fit to take action on this misuse of state property and state funds.

Update: An ethics charge was filed last week. The Klamath Herald and News has the story.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    Thanks for finding this.

    Whitsett, or as I think of him, Whitless, is my State Senator. His district covers not only Klamath County, but all of my County (Crook) and parts of Lake, Deschutes, and Jackson Counties. A very honorable man, Ross Carroll, ran against Sen. Whitsett; and I regret that loss to this minute.

    Out of the gate Sen. Whitsett has been lying to the people of this District. In January before the Legislature got going, the local paper here, the Central Oregonian, ran an article about proposed legislation to reduce the minimum wage, and mentioned Whitsett. I wrote a letter to the editor pointing out the irony of our newly elected State Senator's first action being attempting to lower the wages of the people that elected him. Of all the stupid things, we wrote back a letter in which he denied supporting a reduction in the minimum wage, then 10 days later turns up as the co-sponsor of three bills to lower the minumum wage.

    Sen. Whitsett ran on support for the anti-gay marriage initiative, but stated a willingness to come back in the legislative session to support a civil unions bill. He flip-flopped on this, and failed to support civil unions.

    Now, we see that Sen. Whitsett is using is State office, his State letterhead, and his position to raise campaign money.

    I wonder what the gay/lesbian, minimum wage workers, and tax payers of Central Oregon will think of this? I certainly intend to tell them!

  • H. Duke (unverified)

    It's a glaring indictment of our state government that Whitsett was able to pass the legislation that made him a Willy Week Rogue. With Democratic Governor Kulongoski's help, Senate Bill 81 easily passed the House and Senate, prolonging a 87 year old wasteful power subsidy for irrigators in the Klamath Basin. Not only haven't their power rates gone up since 1917, they actually went down in 1956 so that if you irrigate (not run a child care center or hardware store), you pay 1/16 of what other Pacificorp (Pacific Power and Light) customers pay. That means that Oregon State University and hundreds of other taxpayer supported institutions pay more for their power so Klamath Basin irrigators can pay less for theirs. And it was Whitsett (along with Kulongoski and not a few willing Democratic senators) who made it happen. It may not be worth an ethics complaint, but it's an embarrassment for sure. DH

  • josh (unverified)

    Come on, the guy is takes practice to be a shady Republican...he'll learn!

  • Eric Berg (unverified)

    Last session, another legislator from Klamath Falls, Rep. Bill Garrard, lied to mine and others' faces about his support for reducing the minimum wage. Then lied about lying to us. Must be something in the water.

  • David English (unverified)

    The most telling quote in the newspaper story has to be:

    "We were actually in the process of preparing some when the light came on," he said.

    To which I reply: Really, it sounds like the lights were on, but no one was home.

  • JTT (unverified)

    The part from the letter that I like the most is: "I will be helping like-minded candidates throughout the state with their efforts." Now does this mean we should be expecting more "state-sponsored" fundraising letters from Senate Republicans? or does it mean that we should be on the lookout for more oblivious Republicans like Whitsett?

    Here's my question: he reimbursed the state for the cost of the stationary, but what about the labor time of his staff to type up the letter, compile the address book, and what about the postage?

    And finally just another stupid question about the letter "increased funding to K-12..."? and "Increased access and lowered the cost of healthcare..."? He's joking right?

  • (Show?)

    A: Above all else, don't use government funds for campaign purposes.

    Yes, yes...we're shocked --SHOCKED-- that government funds have been used for campaign purposes.

    Good grief...and how many contracts/favors/deals go to campaign contributors? Never happens around HERE...

  • (Show?)

    They say that absolute power corrupts absolutely - some people forget to wait for the absolute power first. D'oh!

  • Portland Publius (unverified)

    My theory? This is what happens when the political parties rule the earth. They recruit their assortment of numbnuts, and we live with the results.

    How might this have happened? GOP strategists assist in the drafting of a letter. Send letter to candidate. Candidate futzes around with letter. Candidate hands off letter to legislative staff. Boom. An unprosecuted violation of state law is born.

    Just a theory. Certainly it's cynical of me to think that the future of our state rests in the hands of morons. There's so much evidence to the contrary.

    We should pay our legislators $100,000 a year, to ensure qualified candidates. $9 million is chicken feed compared to a $12 billion state budget.

  • Pedro (unverified)

    It looks like Whitsett is a leading contender to bunk with the Doyles at the Oregon State Pen!

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