Barnett Blasts Yom Kippur Robocalls
While the Democrat running for the 37th District state House seat calls out her opponent, Republican Bruce Lilley says his campaign has nothing to do with the negative campaign tactic.
Another round of "robocalls," automated phone messages, hit the Farmington-Farmington Hills area this week, on the holiest day of the year for area Jews.
And while incumbent State Rep. Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) blames her Republican opponent, Bruce Lilley, and his supporters, Lilley says the calls are not coming from his campaign – and he has no control over whoever is making them.
Barnett, who is Jewish, said in a scathing press release Thursday that the timing of this week's calls was particularly offensive.
“It’s hard to be surprised any more by how low my opponent and his supporters are willing to go, but the timing of this latest attack is inexcusable,” she said. “It demonstrates a complete lack of respect for a very large number of people in our community, including myself, who had gathered with family yesterday in observation of one of the holiest and highest holidays of the year."
Barnett's release said the anonymous calls began two weeks ago. The most recent claim she failed to support veterans.
“I generally don’t respond to the baseless allegations made in anonymous robocalls, but this I take personally," Barnett said. "I am the daughter of a World War II veteran, and I have been unwavering in my commitment to supporting the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country."
Barnett said earlier this year, she introduced HR 292, which declared the week of June 25-29 "Service Disabled Veterans Business Awareness Week," and she works closely with veterans organizations on ways to better address the needs of service men and women upon their return to civilian life.
"To suggest that I don’t support our veterans 100 percent just smacks of desperation on the part of my opponent, and then to issue this slanderous robocall on Yom Kippur is beyond offensive. Frankly, he should be embarrassed," she said.
Lilley said his campaign is not doing any robocalls, and he has no idea where Barnett gets the idea they came from him. He said political action committees (PACs) may do robocalls, but he believes there are better methods of communicating.
Candidates are legally prohibited from directing any PAC activity, Lilley pointed out. "I've tried as best as I can to tell them don't do it," he said. "If she thinks it's me, I'm sorry, but it's not."
Barnett said House Democrats have introduced a package of ethics and campaign finance bills, one of which would require robocalls to include the name of the individual or entity that paid for it.