Rep. Buck, House speaker feud over campaign fliers

Three campaign fliers mailed to voters this week in the 24th Legislative District misrepresent his record, Rep. Jim Buck says.

Buck, R-Joyce, is demanding an apology from House Speaker Frank Chopp for information in one of them.

Buck, who is defending his 24th District seat against Democrat Kevin Van De Wege of Sequim, said that his opponent had nothing to do with the fliers.

Instead, he blamed Chopp, who he said controls the Harry Truman Fund, a Democrat political action committee which paid for two of the campaign mailers.

“I demand the speaker set the record straight and apologize to people of the 24th Legislative District,” Buck said in a statement.

He was referring to a flier which characterized Buck as having missed “over 100 votes.”

“Why apologize for something that’s true?” Chopp, D-Seattle, said Wednesday.

“I have no problem sitting down with him and talking this out,” he said.

“But we stand behind the mailings — in particular Jim Buck’s voting record.”

Chopp said he didn’t see the flier concerning Buck’s attendance until it arrived at his home.

But he said that since then, his staff has verified that Buck was absent during the votes.

Chopp said he doesn’t recall, though, if he excused Buck from legislative duties for four days in March 2005 because of illness.

“This is one part of the mailing that I’m checking out,” he said.

Buck said that he was under a doctor’s care for a respiratory infection on March 9, 10, 15 and 16 and that Chopp had excused him.

“This is one of the shabbiest campaign tricks I have every seen,” Buck said Wednesday.

“The speaker controls the Truman Fund and he’s the guy who excused me.”

Chopp denies he controls the Truman Fund.

“That’s not accurate,” Chopp said.

“I do help raise funds for it. There is a four-member board for this group.”

Chopp added that those four days Buck missed in March could have seen more than 100 votes taken.

Buck also said that he didn’t actually miss the votes, although he was absent when they were taken.

He said that “there is a process for someone who has been sick and missed votes.

‘There are 112 votes . . . that I entered into the journal of the House and so there were no missed votes.”

Those notations aren’t votes, said Chopp.

“Any member can make notations in the House Journal about how they would have voted. But it’s not a vote.

“If you’re not present, you can’t vote.”

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