Former House Speaker (and current congressional candidate) Kirk Adams today became that rare Republican who would cross Russell Pearce. This afternoon, Adams issued a statement critical of the campaign filth being flung at Jerry Lewis as he challenges Pearce in next week's recall election.
Indeed if you listen to Pearce supporters, Lewis was stealing backpacks from homeless children and basically grinding them underneath his jackboots. In fact, Pearce's pals have spent thousands of dollars telling you just what a slimeball this guy Lewis -- a bishop in his church and a leader of Boy Scouts -- really is.
Adams, to his credit, has seen enough. On Wednesday afternoon, he e-mailed me this statement:
"People have been critical of me for not associating myself with the Senate race in Ld18 I don't live in the district, have never represented that district, and only a small portion of ld18 is expected to be in the congressional district I live in.
"Yet the tactics being employed by some of these folks is appalling and deserves to be called out. Accusing Lewis of stealing from homeless kids is reprehensible, made even more so by the complete lack of facts to back it up. Contrast and negative campaigning will always be part of politics. Voting records, public statements, and personal actions will always be subject to interpretation from political opponents. But the wholesale manufacturing of accusations, devoid of fact, is more about personal destruction than campaign politics."
Lewis is assistant superintendent for Sequoia Schools, a charter school company that took over the former Thomas J. Pappas schools for homeless kids in 2008. A former assistant principal has sued the school for wrongful termination, saying she was fired in part because she complained that Lewis allowed a teacher at Children First Academy in Tempe to take donated items home for a garage sale. The donated items in question consisted of a couple of boxes of adult clothing and an old entertainment center. The teacher was trying to raise money so that she could adopt an orphan from Ethiopia.
Both Lewis and Sequoia Superintendent Ron Neil have said that teachers often were given donated items that were not suitable for use by the students. The teacher has said that none of the items sold at her garage sale and were ultimately donated to a thrift store. The entertainment center was returned to the school, at Lewis' request, because of complaints.
My opinion, for whatever it's worth, is that Lewis shouldn't have given away items donated to the school. But it's not like he pawned them to raise the money for a quick trip to Vegas. Instead, he gave them to a teacher trying to raise money to adopt an orphan.
Not exactly the crime of the century.
And yet Pearce pal Constantin Querard, who is running an independent campaign for Pearce, puts out a mailer making it seem like that just that. Lewis, it says, “stole backpacks from homeless children." (See a picture of the mailer below.)
First, the Olivia Cortez scandal. Now the Lewis-is-stealing-from-homeless-children blockbuster.
In desperate times, you really do see what people are made of, don't you?