By Christian Wihtol
After losing to Peter DeFazio twice at the ballot box, Art Robinson has lost to him in court also.
Robinson and DeFazio, who represents Oregon's 4th Congressional District, announced Thursday that a Josephine County judge has tossed out Robinson's October lawsuit against DeFazio.
Robinson had claimed that DeFazio's billboard ads had painted Robinson in a false light before the November 2012 general election. The ads largely used portions of statements Robinson had made on various issues, including phasing out Social Security.
DeFazio had countered that the information on the billboards was accurate.
Judge Pat Wolke, in an April 25 decision , dismissed Robinson's lawsuit, saying any misstatements or selective quotations or omissions about Robinson on DeFazio's billboard ads were not "so inconsistent" with Robinson's actual positions that Robinson would be likely to win any damages. Wolke also noted that both DeFazio and Robinson are public figures who were engaged in a political campaign.
Even in alerting the public and the media to the judge's decision, Robinson slammed DeFazio.
He complained that DeFazio in 25 years "has never accomplished anything to preserve the lumber mills that once were (the district's) most vibrant industry."
"Just recently, we had another tragic example of this in the closure of the last lumber mill in Josephine County -- Rough and Ready. These 85 jobs (and many more that they supported in the community) were lost because the mill could not obtain access to the rich timber resources of our district."
DeFazio "has always been long on talk but has never taken effective action. This inaction has favored his liberal political constituency at the expense of the productive people of our district."
DeFazio has been trying for years to get Congress to move on a plan to increase logging on federal Bureau of Land Management forests in Western Oregon. The bill remains in the House Natural Resources Committee. Last month, DeFazio was able to hold a hearing on the bill.
DeFazio's campaign, meanwhile, berated Robinson over the lawsuit.
"For months leading up to the November election, Robinson peddled over 158,000 copies of his book "Common Sense in 2012' in a blatant attempt to whitewash his ultraradical views and seem more palatable to voters. When we publicized his actual stated, long-held positions on important issues, he filed his $1 million lawsuit against me, personally, and got quite a bit of news coverage," DeFazio said in a statement.
"It was clear then, and confirmed by the court, (that) his lawsuit had no merit. It was simply another ploy by Robinson to distract voters from the policy issues that really mattered just before the election."