The second to last line in my blogger colleague Jason Tolbert’s latest post on opposition research probably would have been better suited for the first paragraph: "If Republicans had a similar war chest, it is likely they would be investing in some oppo research as well."
Tolbert’s latest post is on the fact the Democratic Party of Arkansas has hired a researching firm, Reger Research, for some consulting work. What the researcher is doing for the DPA is unknown since it is not listed on their legal filings, but Tolbert believes it must be opposition research.
Every candidate for major office, Governor, Senator, etc., conducts opposition research on their opponents and state parties do the same. It’s a search of public records to see what the opponent has done in their life and to check for indiscretions or indiscrepancies.
For example, if a candidate talked about his business prowess during the campaign, but then it turns out he declared bankruptcy multiple times, do you think that is a fair point for the opponent to raise? It is and I’ve seen it happen in various campaigns.
The only reason the RPA isn’t doing any research right now is because they are completely broke and can barely afford to keep the lights on.
When it comes to opposition research, it must noted that Congressman Tim Griffin used to conduct opposition research on behalf of the Republican National Committee. Griffin formerly worked for Karl Rove and conducted opposition research on candidates across the country.
Tolbert also mentions recent attention received by State Representative Justin Harris and his government-funded business in today’s blog post. Some of the information on Harris has come to light through the use of the Freedom of Information Act – a citizen’s and a researcher’s best friend when it comes to checking up on government officials.
Justin "Hog Trough" Harris owns a daycare center, Growing God’s Kingdom, in Northwest Arkansas that since 2005 has accepted roughly $1 million dollars in federal and state money. "Hog Trough" Harris loves to decry government spending, unless that is, it’s lining his pockets. Harris gets his nickname due to his love of sucking up government funds for personal gain and that he’s from Hog country.
Harris instructs his daycare center staff, who are partly funded by government money, and in a facility funded by government money, to teach his young charges about "the love of Allah"…
NOTE: Harris totally does not say anything of the sort!! Harris in fact has his staff teach from the Bible and about the "the love of Jesus." I just made an extreme example to show that government funds shouldn’t be used to promote a religion, regardless of the faith.
Max Brantley at the Arkansas Times Blog first broke the story yesterday on how a group, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, filed a complaint with DHS and the State Education Department on Harris’s using government money to spread the gospel.
I don’t know what will happen with the issue of "Hog Trough" Harris’s government-funded business, but it is a fair point to discuss. And while no one likes to talk about opposition research, both Republicans and Democrats do it all the time.