527 group sends another anti-Fallon piece on sex offenders

Wow, I never knew Red Brannan, one of the developers who would like to see a four-lane beltway constructed in rural northeast Polk County, was so mad when Ed Fallon voted against residency restrictions for sex offenders in 2002.

But that vote must have really gotten Brannan riled up, because today I got another direct-mail piece on the issue from the 527 group Independent Voices. On Tuesday a similar mailer arrived from the same group, which I transcribed here. Matt Stoller put a scanned image of the earlier mailer up at Open Left.

Today’s mailer has a large photo of an empty child’s swing, next to these words in large print:

Would you want a sex offender living near your kid’s school?

At the bottom in small print it says, “Paid for By Independent Voices, Red Brannan Chair.” Hey, at least there’s a union bug next to that line!

On the flip side the same photo of an empty swing appears faintly. There’s a smaller picture of Fallon near the bottom of the page, holding up one finger, as if lecturing. These words appear on the page:

Ed Fallon put kids at risk simply to make a political statement

When Ed Fallon had the chance to stop convicted sex offenders from living near our schools, he thought it was more important to make a political statement than to protect our kids. He cast the only vote against this prohibition in the state house.

Our kids have enough challenges, why would Ed let these predators live next to our schools?

Associated Press   October 14, 2005

Fallon concedes he is the only lawmaker who opposed the restrictions.

“There was a fear that if we don’t support this bill we’ll be viewed as weak on crime.”

Call Ed at 515.277.0424

Tell Ed our kids are more important than his politics. As him to oppose letting convicted sex offenders live near our schools.

The hypocrisy of this mailing is breathtaking. As I mentioned in the post about the previous mailer on this subject, residency restrictions for sex offenders do nothing to reduce crimes against children–prosecutors and children’s advocates agree on this point. The proponents of these laws are the ones who would rather “make a political statement” than protect our kids.

The Des Moines Register’s editorial board described the earlier mailer from Independent Voices as “the cheapest of cheap shots.”

This letter to the editor, published today, made several great points as well:

The 2,000-foot law was passed as a knee-jerk reaction to high-profile abuse cases. The result has been a drop in the number of sex offenders registering their address and the creation of rural communities comprising mainly sex offenders. What the law fails to take into account is the fact that only a small minority of sex offenders are playground pedophiles.

About 80 percent of abuse victims knew the offender and 43 percent are relatives. I ask both Fallon and U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, along with all other lawmakers, to take the time to develop sensible laws that promote rehabilitation and judge offenses on a case-by-case basis. Sexually active high schoolers shouldn’t be categorized with rapists and punished just as harshly.

– Jade Howser Nagel, Urbandale

The political posturing of the majority of Iowa legislators has drained law enforcement resources and led to fewer sex offenders registering their addresses. That doesn’t keep my two young kids or anyone else’s kids safer, and Red Brannan’s group should know this very well.

Will this mailing scare third district Democrats away from Fallon, or will it backfire? Your guess is as good as mine.

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  • '08 Backfire

    I think this type of smear politics is going to backfire this year. Most voters either see through these tactics, or they are tired of the negative campaigning. Whether it will backfire enough for Fallon to upend Boswell on Tuesday, I don’t really know.

    In the presidential race, I think McCain better keep a leash on, or at least distance himself from the 527 attacks that are bound to come out against Obama. I think there will definately be a voter backlash in Novemeber if these groups aren’t held accountable when they need to be.

    • General election tactics

      Personally, I find the Boswell campaign and this Brannan fellow to be running a disgusting and despicable campaign.

      From the purely tactical perspective, I believe Boz’s campaign is making a real blunder.  They are running mailers and commercials that are more like general election ads.  A good chunk of the general electorate buy the kinds of distortions Boz is selling because they don’t know any better.  They just don’t follow politics that closely.  However, I think the primary electorate, especially this time around with no other major races on the ballot, is a completely different audience.  These are  people who follow politics pretty closely.  These people know enough about Boz’s record to see the deception and distortion.

      I believe this, combined with the fact that many people are simply tired of negative campaigning, will backfire on Boswell.  I think Boz will be in for a rude awakening come the evening of June 3.  

      • unless the goal

        is to scare Democratic primary voters by showing them the type of sleaze that will be used against Fallon if he is the nominee.

        At that level I am afraid these fliers will strike a chord.