In another round of mudslinging in the 1st District congressional race, Rep. Jim Hansen's campaign is charging that his Democratic challenger, Gunn McKay, is distorting the truth with some claims.
McKay's campaign, however, says Hansen is the one doing the distorting.The new charges and counter-charges come on the heels of a two-week radio ad war in which each has been accusing the other of dirty campaigning.
Bonnie Stephens, Hansen's campaign chairman, said in a press release, "On KSL Radio's `Public Pulse' last Wednesday (June 27), after attacking the congressman (Hansen) for accepting speaking fees, McKay had a lapse of memory when he said, `I think I only had one honorarium in all the years I served.' "
She said a check of just one year of McKay's 10 years in Congress from 1971 to 1981 revealed that he received speaking fees from the National Woolgrowers Association, the Committee on Federal Procurement of Architects and Engineers Services and the Western Regional Council.
Stephens concluded, "Gunn McKay certain is entitled to express his opinions, but he owes it to the people of the 1st District to be accurate with the facts."
A tape of the program - provided by Hansen - shows the quote by Stephens is accurate.
But McKay's campaign manager, Russell Clark, said, "Gunn may have misspoke. But I think it is safe to say that Gunn in all his years in Congress probably accepted fewer honoraria than Jim Hansen did in just 1987."
Clark added, "By no means did Gunn accept honorariums on the same level as does Jim Hansen. If you look at Hansen's 1987 financial disclosure form, in addition to his salary of $89,500 he took another $18,000 in honoraria - most of which were from defense contractors, which in my own opinion raises a serious conflict of interest because he sits on the Armed Services Committee."
Recent ads by McKay have attacked Hansen for missing what McKay said was an important vote on a bill that would pay catastrophic health care costs for senior citizens. McKay said Hansen was in Las Vegas at the time giving a speech to boost his personal income.
Hansen said, however, that he only received $500 for the speech, and gave it only because he was on the way to California anyway to give a church blessing to a new granddaughter.
"He makes it appear that I'm a money grubber picking up every dollar I can," Hansen said. "I wasn't flying out there to pick up a lousy $500. I was going to bless the baby, and stopped on the way. That needs to come out.
"Everybody has missed important votes. McKay missed 58 votes in 1980. They say they were procedure votes, but that's baloney. At least five of them were heavy appropriations bills."