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Did lost credit card unveil dirty politics?

Jeremy Simon

It looks like the political campaign is turning nasty.

No, I’m not talking about the race for the White House, although John McCain and Barack Obama have been tossing a little their share of mud around recently. The campaign in question involves the contest for Arizona’s third congressional district, pitting incumbent Rep. John Shadegg (R) against Bob Lord (D).

shadegg.JPG
Source: Politico.com

Plastic played a pivotal role earlier this week in the ugly turn that campaign has taken. “A business credit card belonging to the incumbent’s re-election campaign was found on the floor of a Democratic field office in Tempe,” the Associated Press reports. “Arizona Democratic Party officials on Monday publicly demanded an explanation from Shadegg’s campaign — and that it return anything taken from the office.”

Apparently, all that was taken was a Barack Obama sticker.

Shadegg campaign worker Ryan Anderson said that while running errands on Sunday, he decided to stop into the Democratic office to pick up a Barack Obama sticker to add to his political memorabilia collection. The AP reports that Anderson “said he must have dropped the credit card when he pulled dollar bills out of a pocket to pay for the sticker.” He later realized the card was missing, and campaign officials had the card canceled.

But Democrats made a chargeback of their own, with Anderson’s explanation drawing skepticism from Democratic Party spokeswoman Emily DeRose. “Anderson appears to be more than a volunteer for Shadegg and his purchase of the bumper sticker should have been logged as a campaign contribution, DeRose said. ‘We find that their explanation is laughable,'” the AP reports.

Web site Politico raises some valid objections of its own to Anderson’s story. “A minor problem with this ‘bumper sticker’ errand, as we’ve been informed, is that in order to actually purchase a bumper sticker you have to fill out a form, which did not happen,” it says. Meanwhile, the Dems wonder why a “volunteer” would have access to the campaign’s credit card. The answer could lie in the explanation provided by Arizona political Web site Yellow Sheet Report (login required), which says Anderson isn’t a volunteer at all, but in fact Shadegg’s deputy campaign manager.

statement from the Arizona Democratic Party offers their conclusion: “Shadegg’s deputy campaign manager entered our office, likely to spy on supporters of Bob Lord’s campaign for change and attempt to obtain confidential information on Lord’s strategy,” says executive director Maria Weeg. “Congressman John Shadegg should make clear whether he condones his campaign’s behavior and whether he will continue to employ the individuals responsible for spying on the people of Arizona.”

See related: Prank uses Obama in attempt to obtain Centurion bling, Sarah Palin thinks ‘out of the box’ on credit card reform, ABC News producer uses corporate credit card to escape Denver jail, Obama may reform McCain’s credit card rate

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Update: Master Your Card included this blog entry as part of the aptly-named Financial Armageddon edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance. With the economy tanking, at least personal finance bloggers are producing some great posts.

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  • Jon

    This is some serious shade. We need an Anderson Cooper truth report on these shenanigans!