Sunday, August 14, 2005
Portman: Don't blame me for LaTourette CAFTA vote
Someone is lying and the PD's Stephen Koff reports that its not U.S. Trade Rep Rob Portman.
A Plain Dealer examination last week showed that the Lake County Republican's explanation for his July 28 vote was built upon a set of phony reasons.
LaTourette had said he voted for CAFTA in order to eliminate plywood tariffs that were squeezing KraftMaid, the Middlefield-based kitchen cabinet maker. Without some relief, LaTourette said, KraftMaid might have to move jobs out of the United States.
LaTourette's office said the congressman based this belief not only on a conversation with KraftMaid president Tom Chieffe the afternoon before the vote, but also on a document listing base tariffs, provided by Portman's office after the Chieffe conversation. [emphasis added]
[ . . .]As a footnote to this story, it should be noted that Koff based much of his story on posts on the Cincy-area Whistleblower blog. The Whistleblower usually leaves us wondering if someone's med interactions need to be checked, but kudos to the publisher for providing this info, and hat's off to the PD for being honest about one of Koff's sources.
Portman's press secretary, Neena Moorjani . . . said the document wasn't sent until Aug. 5 - eight days after the CAFTA vote.
That's a far cry from LaTourette's staff-written statement that said LaTourette asked Portman about the issue before the vote and that Portman's office "provided the congressman with a document . . ." The statement failed to mention that LaTourette's office asked for the document more than a week after the fact.
LaTourette's district director, Dino DiSanto, late Friday acknowledged that LaTourette did not have the document from Portman at the time of the vote. But he said LaTourette had basically the same information because his office had looked it up on the trade representative's Web site.
"I think getting information from the Web site is what we did," DiSanto said. He acknowledged the office only sought the hard document from Portman's office after The Plain Dealer started asking about the tariff issue.