Three Fairfax County Democrats Yesterday accused Del. Robert E. Harris (R-Fairfax) of distorting his sponsorship of Metro funding legislation, but the legislator then leveled his own charges of campaign misrepresentations.
With the Northern Virginia elections due Tuesday, Charles E. Kaufman, a Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates in Harris' district, said Harris had "lied" by claiming in a published campaign statement that he had sponsored a bill to provide $15 million for Metro's operating deficit.
"His bill was for capital expenses, not operating expenses," said Kaufman."I stopped him from saying that at candidates' nights, and now he's making the same claim in last-minute campaign statements."
Harris, who mentioned the legislation in a statement submitted to The Washington Post's "Voters Guide" published Thursday, said Kaufmar and others were deliberately ignoring all facts related to the Metro legislation. "The initial bill dealt with capital expenses but I later proposed an amendment that changed it from capital to operating expenses" Harris said. "I've been attacked for not supporting Metro, and I wanted to show this is not true."
Harris, whose 1978 vote killing proposed Metro funding legislation has been criticized by Democrats, who said he opposed that bill because he felt it would have required Fairfax County to subsidize the Metro costs of Arlington County and Alexandria.
Joseph Alexander, a member of the Metro board and a Democrat seeking reelection to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said he was not aware of any amendments to the Harris bill, which was never enacted.
Harris and Republican candidates in the supervisor races were also criticized for alleged campaign distortions by Emilie Miller, who is chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. She said the Republican Party was ignoring issus in favor of 'distortion, innuendo and personal attacks."