Sam Aanestad

Ad Watch: 1st Congressional rivals Aanestad, La Malfa disagree on federal farm subsidies

Published: Saturday, Apr. 21, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 22, 2012 - 11:44 am

Former Republican Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, is on the air with a new radio spot criticizing one of his top rivals for the newly drawn 1st Congressional District seat. The one-minute spot aired on radio stations in the Northern California district this week. Here is the text and an analysis of the ad by The Bee Capitol Bureau's Torey Van Oot.

TEXT

Sam Aanestad: Did you know you're $49,000 in debt? So are each of your kids and grandkids. That's because Congress has run up a $16 trillion national debt, and we're the ones stuck paying for it.

"I'm Sam Aanestad, and I'm running for Congress to stop this spending. I oppose adding even one more dollar in new debt. We need to stop spending.

"Now I know some disagree. One of my opponents has taken millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded farm subsidies. He's running for Congress to protect the $200 billion farm welfare program.

"The problem is we can't afford it. Our kids and grandkids will be stuck paying the bill for the millions he's taken from the taxpayers. It's time we say no to government debt.

"I'm Sam Aanestad, and I approve this message paid for by Sam Aanestad for Congress because I am serious about ending government debt. To find out more, please visit SamAanestad.com.

ANALYSIS

The opponent referenced in the radio ad is state Sen. Doug LaMalfa, a Richvale rice farmer who formerly served in the state Assembly.

While the farming operation co-owned by LaMalfa and several relatives has received millions in federal farm subsidies over the last 15 years, the Richvale Republican's campaign rejects the assertion that he is running for office to protect the program, which is determined by a federal "farm bill" that is renewed about every five years.

LaMalfa Family Partnership received $4,694,840 in federal farm subsidies between 1995 and 2010, according to federal data compiled by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. The sum includes $1,382,396 in direct payments, as well as marketing loans and payments triggered by drops in crop prices.

LaMalfa has defended accepting the federal assistance, saying it helped his farm compete. He told the Redding Record Searchlight that the money is necessary to help crop farmers who are "on life support" due to government regulations, taxes and rising fuel prices.

His campaign consultant, Dave Gilliard, told The Bee that LaMalfa wants to see a restructuring of the farm subsidies program and changes to the regulatory and tax system to alleviate the need for federal government assistance.

"What we take exception to is the idea that his choice to run to Congress is to protect a program he thinks also is a problem," Gilliard said.

Both candidates have spoken out against the federal debt, which the U.S. Department of Treasury says is about $15.6 trillion.

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