Speaker Jeff Merkley and police differ on accident

Press release from State Republican Party 2-3-08:

Day: Merkley Politicizing Law-Breaking Car Accident

SALEM, Ore. — Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, Vance Day, today called for Jeff Merkley to explain the difference of opinion between him and the State Police on his law-breaking car accident, and why he is continuing to take political advantage of a serious crash which endangered other drivers.

“I find it shocking that neither Jeff Merkley nor his aide believed they were driving too fast — especially since the State Police disagreed and cited the aide for careless driving,” said Chairman Vance Day. “Jeff Merkley said his aide was driving “˜very responsibly’: is he covering for his aide’s law-breaking actions, or will Jeff Merkley and his driver challenge the State Police in court?”

Jeff Merkley released a campaign Web advertisement satirizing him and his driver’s, David Dickey-Griffith, roll-over accident on Highway 20 for political purposes only one day after it was reported that the State Police issued the aide a citation for careless driving. Merkley used the Web advertisement in two mass emails last week to potential and current donors and supporters.

Day added: “I am disappointed that Jeff Merkley is trying to take political advantage of something that put others in harm’s way. Driving carelessly and breaking the law is never funny. While Jeff Merkley joked that his car “˜gave up its life for the campaign,’ too many Oregon families have given up the lives of their loved-ones to careless drivers.”

Day sent a personal letter last week to Jeff Merkley asking him to apologize for the “tasteless” advertisement and discontinue making light of the serious accident. A copy of the letter can be found on the Oregon Republican Party’s Web site by clicking here.

# # #