I’ve known Abel Maldonado for a long time. I consider us to be friends. We served together in Sacramento, and while we disagreed on a woman’s right to choose, funding for education, and immigration reform, among other issues, I always respected his long devotion to public service.
I’m sorry to say this version of Abel Maldonado who is now campaigning for Congress is not the same person I knew and served with in Sacramento.
I’ve watched this election unfold, and it’s clear that Mr. Maldonado is running a dishonest campaign. Central Coast voters deserve better.
His latest ad is one of the most brazenly untrue I have ever seen. I’ve never seen a candidate sit in a chair and talk straight into the camera and say something that has not even a kernel of truth. It can’t even be twisted into the truth.
He said he has always paid his taxes and that his tax liens were paid off 20 years ago. This is impossible to be true.
First, as we all know, he currently is in tax court against the IRS for claiming obviously improper deductions for his home remodeling, his country club membership, luxury homes and even his own political fundraiser. He owes $4.2 million in unpaid taxes, according to court filings.
Second, on his tax liens, he has had 9 tax liens, and the most recent was in 2010, not 20 years ago, for $111,146. He’s well aware of this, since the Los Angeles Times and nearly every media outlet in the Central Coast reported on this in 2010 when he was running for Lieutenant Governor.
But it’s not just his latest ad. Let’s look at his debates. Many of us have seen the clip where he claimed that he wasn’t running negative ads, and then the crowd roared in disbelief since they’ve seen his attack ads running all over their TVs. He’s actually still claiming that he is not attacking Lois Capps, when four of his own TV ads have done just that. Frankly the residents are sick of all of the negative campaigning.
Most alarmingly, he has spread misinformation about his own record. At UCSB, he said he supported the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” when he actually voted against a resolution calling for its repeal - twice. He then said he “actually has a good record on domestic partnerships,” when in fact he voted against domestic partnership rights for LGBT couples at least four times, signed a pledge to oppose marriage equality, voted for Proposition 8, and received failing scores from Equality California every year.
He’s given confusing statements on a woman’s right to choose in this election, but when he was in Sacramento he voted against a resolution supporting the Roe v. Wade decision. He received failing scores from Planned Parenthood every year and refused to answer their questionnaire – or the California Right to Life questionnaire – when he ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2010.
On immigration, he told the Associated Press in 1998 that he voted for Proposition 187, the most divisive anti-immigrant ballot measure in California history. Now he says that’s not true.
On health care reform, he says he would support allowing kids to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 – except what he doesn’t tell you is that he voted against that in Sacramento.
On offshore oil drilling, he now says he always opposed it. Yet he doesn’t say that he refused to rule out more offshore oil drilling in a 2009 interview with the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
And remember, it was just four months ago when he said he would publicly release his tax returns so the voters could see for themselves if Mr. Maldonado’s really paid his taxes like he says in his ad. He has not released his tax returns as he promised.
I expected better from Mr. Maldonado.
Jack O'Connell represented San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast as a state assemblymember, as a state senator, and as California's Superintendent of Public Instruction.