Writings and observations

Yes, the new anti-Dino Rossi video by Washington Democrats was way over the top, and because of one element that involved not a single word spoken or written, or even an image. This could be a first, an ad gone very bad because of the theme music.

Everything but for the theme music seemed to be more or less in bounds. It is true that Rossi, the Republican running again this year for governor, is very close to the Building Industry Association of Washington, and the BIAW has been a major funder and supporter. The ad’s text and clips make the point powerfully.

But then they play that unmistakable Sopranos music behind it. Intended to suggest someone’s mobbed up here? (You have to ask: Would the idea even have arisen had the candidate been named Ross instead of Rossi?)

Kelly Steele of the Washington Democrats said the music wasn’t intended to suggest any such thing: “It’s a catchy song, which we thought jibed stylistically with our communication about Rossi’s designated attack squad – the BIAW – who continue to pour millions into false and misleading attack ads against Gov. Gregoire.” Just coincidence, apparently, that particular catchy song came from a program about Italian mobsters.

The ad has been taken down, according to Seattle Post-Intelligencer blogging, evidently to be re-themed.

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Washington

The Idaho Tax Commission has delivered its response to the batch of serious charges delivered several weeks back by veteran auditor Stan Howland. (We’ve posted it.)

The response is longer than Howland’s original, and as blunt: “The Commission, and the individuals involved, reject as completely untrue any allegation that cases are illegally or inappropriately compromised. ”

A key procedural element, referred to right up front: “When a taxpayer protests an NODD [Notice of Deficiency Determination], it is important that the protest process offer an impartial review. Moreover, it must be seen to offer an impartial review. It is difficult to have an impartial review, and impossible to be seen to have one, when the auditor sits in judgment on his own NODD. That is why auditor involvement is minimized at the protest level. Protests are heard either by Commissioners or their designees.”

On the other hand, if those conducting the impartial review hearing mostly from the taxpayer and very little from the auditor, you can develop some unusual forms of impartiality.

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Idaho