Billionaire Tom Steyer Recycling False Attacks in Iowa

$2.6 million spent on false attack ad targeting Joni Ernst
Tom Steyer / AP

Tom Steyer / AP

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Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer is running an attack ad against Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst regarding her pledge not to raise taxes, but the ad uses recycled attacks that have already been debunked in previous elections, according to Americans for Tax Reform.

The ad is part of a $2.6 million ad buy made by Steyer’s NextGen Climate to combat Ernst in Iowa.

The attacks in the ad have been used in the past against other candidates that have signed on to the pledge against hiking taxes, and multiple fact checks have found the claims made to be false.

For example, the ad ties Ernst’s pledge to outsourcing. FactCheck.org concluded that this was not the case in 2010 when the attack was used by Virginia Democrat Tom Perriello in a race he would end up losing to Republican Robert Hurt:

But the fact that someone signed the pledge doesn’t necessarily mean they are opposed to closing loopholes for off-shore companies.

Our friends at FactCheck.org have been knocking down this claim since April, when the DCCC ran a TV ad against a Republican House candidate in Hawaii. They recently debunked the same claim in an ad in the Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign.

Here’s the problem: The taxpayer pledge doesn’t prevent a signer from opposing any tax break as long as he or she finds a way to offset the resulting increase in taxes.

[The attack is] a huge leap of logic and it doesn’t prove Hurt supports the offshore loopholes. So we find the claim False.

“Tom Steyer needs to find honest and original consultants,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The plagiarized attack ads he’s running have already been proven false by several fact checkers four years ago, in 2010. Rather than attacking Joni Ernst, he should be praising her for her principled stand against higher taxes. Taxpayers in Iowa are looking for someone to stand up to the special interests in Washington and she is exactly the candidate to do that. Steyer deserves a refund from those who cheated him”