On Tuesday John Foust (D-Dranesville), candidate for Congress in the 10th district, released his first television ad which played repeatedly on local channels but the ad was not without problems.[read_more] The ad’s message is John Foust’s ability to make budget cuts and balance budgets during his years as a Supervisor in Fairfax county. What he fails to mention is he balanced the county budget by increasing the property tax rate from $.89, when he took office in 2008, to $1.09 today. The rate is the amount paid on each $100 of the assessed property value. It’s easier to balance a county budget when you repeatedly increase taxes. The last thing we need in Congress is another member voting to raise taxes.
The second problem with the ad is the setting, inside the Fairfax Government Center. Please note the setting and the employees in the background:
Filming outside a government building is common and legal, but inside a government building with government employees at work? Did those employees give permission to be used in the ad? If so, did they feel coerced into signing permission because Foust is a Supervisor and controls the budget that pays them? If he didn’t get their written permission, that’s a problem.
According to the Washington Post county buildings can be used by employees for personal or private use. I don’t think that means political use during a work day using county employees as extras. From the Post article,
“It’s troubling that John Foust would use government facilities, which are paid for by taxpayers, to film his political commercials,” said Katie Prill, spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, noting Foust’s name is not on the permit. “This is clearly outlawed by Fairfax County’s own code of ethics and personnel regulations, but apparently Foust thinks he’s above the rules.”