The Bankruptcy Double-Standard

October 10, 2006 · 12:02 AM EDT

In these final weeks running up to November 7, accusations are commonplace and the hypocrisy is thick.

“If Joy Padgett can’t even keep her business afloat, how can Ohio families trust her to manage their tax dollars in Congress?” asked a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson, referring to the GOP nominee in the race to replace former Cong. Bob Ney (R) in Ohio’s 18th District. Attorney Zack Space is the Democratic nominee.

“This is not just that she made one bad decision and had to file for bankruptcy. [Padgett and her husband] defaulted on multiple loans in a very short time,” the Democratic operative told the Columbus Dispatch.

Padgett did file for personal bankruptcy and it may complicate her ability to keep the seat in the GOP column, but the Democrats’ standard on suitability for Congress could jeopardize one of their own candidates.

The DCCC counts state Rep. Angie Paccione as part of their “Red-to-Blue” program in an effort to boost her campaign against Cong. Marilyn Musgrave (R) in Colorado’s 4th District. But Paccione filed for personal bankruptcy back in 1992, citing the Colorado Student Loan Program and the Stanford University Loan Program among the creditors. She also had a series of liens filed against her just a few years ago, although they were later released.

Paccione and Padgett’s financial troubles aren’t identical in their scope, but the fundamentals of the situation make the Democratic charges in Ohio hypocritical. To be fair, Democrats should cut Padgett some slack or cut Paccione loose.