Lessons learned?

Rep. Doug LaMalfa keeps tainted chief of staff

Newly elected Rep. Doug LaMalfa has announced he has named Mark Spannagel as his chief of staff. Spannagel, who served as LaMalfa’s chief of staff in the state Senate and as his campaign manager, was behind a controversial website, Sam4Congress.com, that popped up during the primary campaign.

The site took shots at fellow candidate Sam Aanestad, criticizing his record as a state assemblyman and senator. At first, the site carried a disclaimer saying it was posted by a group called “Free Thinkers for D’Acquisto,” suggesting that another candidate in the race, Republican Michael Dacquisto, was behind it. Both Aanestad and Dacquisto criticized the website. Aanestad filed a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission but withdrew it after Spannagel apologized.

LaMalfa’s only comment during the controversy was that he was against dirty politics. Last week, he told the Chico Enterprise-Record that he was naming Spannagel as his chief of staff. “Lessons have been learned,” he explained.