Another Scandal Brewing In Wu's District?
In a district in which voters will likely be on-the-lookout for hints of scandal and ethical lapses, a series of unflattering reports last week about Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian's finances, could spell trouble for the Democrat's campaign for former Oregon Democratic Rep. David Wu's seat.
On Wednesday, Willamette Week reported that, while serving in the state legislature, Avakian sent his resume to state lobbyists and asked for help finding a job, that he has been sued by collectors four times for failure to pay bills on-time, that he twice failed to pay his taxes - once accruing a $13,000 tax lien - and that he was briefly suspended from the state bar for failing to pay dues.
Spokesperson Jake Weigler told Hotline On Call that Avakian and his wife have since paid off those debts. "Voters are frustrated with D.C. politicians who are unconnected with the realities of trying to balance a check book and make ends meet during difficult times. Commissioner Avakian, like many Oregon families, has had good times and bad times and through that experience is better equipped to cut through the political posturing on our nation's finances," Weigler said.
Weigler added that the Avakians have no outstanding debts, "though he is still continuing paying off his (student) loans like many middle class Americans." The Avakian campaign had no outstanding debts as of June 30, the most recent period for which financial data was available.
He also defended sending the email to lobbyists from his personal account at the end of the 2005 legislative session. Avakian told the Week that he felt the email was appropriate. "When Commissioner Avakian was looking for work in 2005, he reached out to a wide range of attorneys -- including lobbyists -- to let them know he was seeking legal or administrative work. He did not ask for any favors, nor did he receive any," Weigler told On Call.