Friday, June 17, 2011

8 Days Until the Election: Who is the Cherokee Misleader?

Chad Smith launched a new web site, called Cherokee Misleader  the other day, and Baker responded with an email today from former council member Chuck Hoskin, blasting it.

So what’s the TRUTH about all this?  Smith’s web site says it is exposing Baker’s lies and negative campaigning.  Baker’s email response says Smith is the negative one, and that Smith’s site is “full of made up Bill John quotes (complete with a disgusting photo of a burning Cherokee Nation Flag).”

Smith’s web site shows the orange Cherokee Nation flag, and it appears to have been digitally altered to be ripped and dirty.  There are no flames.  Just because something is orange doesn’t mean it’s on fire.  Sometimes, it’s just orange.  Some people might not like the image of the flag, but it’s wrong to say it’s ‘a burning Cherokee flag.’

Hoskin also offers up an unsubstantiated allegation  new information about the plane (again!) that Smith ‘took it for a test drive before he ordered its purchase,’ along with the usual plane stuff (again)*.  The Cherokee Phoenix has a lot of information on the plane and we’ve covered it a ton before but suffice it to say that Cherokee Nation Businesses does have a plane, Smith has used it, Baker has used it (but far less frequently), and the businesses and other government employees have used it.

But the real TRUTH check needs to come on Smith’s site, which claims to be setting the record straight.

On the home page, it says that Baker ‘says he wants to hire Cherokees, but the truth is he is sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to Washington DC consultants…”

Interestingly, the Smith campaign says it differently on the tab labeled ‘Baker’s campaign’ where they instead claim ‘he has paid almost $100,000 to political consulting firms…’ 

The TRUTH is Baker has spent a ton of money on DC consultants, but evidence available so far through campaign finance reports might support more than $100,000 but not “hundreds” with an ‘s.’

On the last header, labeled Baker’s Untruth(s), there are seven categories.  A lot of them have already been covered, and indeed, the site points to the Cherokee Phoenix Truth Report more than once to back up its claims.

We’ll try to cover the categories quickly.  The airplane (Again!), which we won’t rehash, but you can see the links above to find out more TRUTH on that.

Casino corruption, which hasn’t been much of an issue. It lists a long line of openness and accountability measures and awards and points out that all the directors of the CNB are Cherokee.  Everything checks out there.

Employment, which blows up Baker’s claim that Cherokee employment at Hard Rock is less that 1/3.  It uses a Cherokee Phoenix truth report as factual evidence, rather than just a claim.  So that checks out too.

Housing, which we, and the Cherokee Phoenix have covered before.  This checks out as TRUE, though both sides have different methods of doing housing services.

Pay Raise issue:  Smith points out that Baker pointedly refused to turn down the raise during the debate, while Smith has already said he wouldn’t take it.  The site says Baker also accepted a $6000 travel allowance.  None of this has been refuted and checks out as Truth.

On one titled “Shakedown”, the site claims that Baker said: “Smith-Soap volunteers are breaking the law just by campaigning.”  This may be the one Hoskin is referring to as a made up quote, because we don’t remember it anywhere.  Without documentation, it’s tough to show if/when Baker said it.  If someone shows otherwise where Baker said it, we’ll change and point that out. 

What we do now about this subject is that Baker has accused employees of illegal activity, and we do know that they weren’t doing anything illegal.  We’ve talked about that already, and Baker should stop saying stuff like this since it isn’t true.

The last one is a campaign promise by Baker to provide prescriptions by mail, and the web site points out that the Cherokee Nation already does that.  Point for Smith on that one.

The summary is that Baker has thrown a lot of stuff out there during this campaign that is bad about Smith.  Some what he says is false, some of it is true, and some of it has some truth mixed in with stuff that isn’t true or takes stuff out of context.  All of that stuff from Baker’s campaign is playing out like a lot of campaigns we see outside the Cherokee Nation, but it’s rare that Cherokee elections have been this confrontational.  Smith’s web site attempts to put his version of the truth out there, and for the most part, his version checks out.

*The marked out portions and new additions to this sentence came after we got an invoice showing that the allegations had merit.  They were unsubstantiated when released, but were later backed up with documentation.  Thanks to the source who sent us the document.

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