Does this qualify as a fifth Pinocchio from Glenn Kessler? Actually, his fact check on a new ad from Alison Lundergan Grimes delivers an eighth Pinocchio to the Democratic challenger to Mitch McConnell. Her claim that the Senate Minority Leader has profited from anti-coal efforts got four Pinoccchios the first time she made it, and another four today — plus a finger wag for good measure. Here’s the ad that draws Kessler’s ire, which is so bad that it doesn’t appear on the Grimes campaign web site:
“I am Alison Lundergan Grimes and this is the Big Sandy power plant in Louisa, Kentucky. They are shutting down half the plant and laying off their workers because Mitch McConnell didn’t fight to get the scrubbers it needs to reduce coal emissions. Instead, Mitch and his wife pocketed $600,000 from enemies of coal, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I approve this message because the difference between Mitch and me is I will fight for these jobs and no New York anti-coal billionaire will ever buy me off.”
Most of this is sheer nonsense. McConnell didn’t “fight to get the scrubbers” because, as Kessler points out, the US Senate has nothing to do with buying scrubbers for power plants. This plant didn’t want the scrubbers anyway, because it would have sent electricity rates soaring, and transitioning to natural gas made more economic sense. All of this became necessary because of the environmental policies of the Barack Obama administration, by the way, policies that McConnell has sharply opposed but Democrats like Grimes essentially rubber-stamped in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Furthermore, Grimes is wildly wrong on the claims about money — its sources, the amount, and its provenance. Most of it came from Elaine Chao’s position on the board of Wells Fargo, which actually provides financing for coal operations, and less than $10,000 from being on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which funded a Sierra Club anti-coal initiative before Chao’s term. The organization has stated that Chao had nothing to do with the project and that board members do not vote on individual grant requests anyway, all points Kessler raised in his first fact check on Grimes’ smear of Chao.
This time, he adds a scolding note to the verdict:
Grimes first makes a nonsense claim that McConnell should have somehow arranged for scrubbers in a privately-owned plant that would have sent utility rates soaring.
Then, in a desperate effort to somehow cite Bloomberg’s name, she accuses McConnell of being bought off by a $9,000 payment to McConnell’s wife (who is independently wealthy). Citing a $600,000 number from “enemies of coal” is especially silly, as it mostly involves money from a bank that continues to finance coal companies.
Most striking, Grimes puts her own credibility on the line by uttering these recidivist claims herself, rather than relying on an unseen narrator.
We realize that the game of politics is sometimes played rough in Kentucky, but this ad is beyond the pale. Indeed, it is likely the worst ad of a nasty campaign year. Grimes should be ashamed of herself.
It’s not the worst ad — that distinction still belongs to Wendy Davis. It is typical of Grimes’ campaign, though, which has routinely lied and prevaricated in order to distract Kentucky voters from the obvious fact that electing a Democrat to the US Senate means providing a rubber stamp for Barack Obama’s war on coal.