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Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg. (Image via Pixabay)
Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg. (Image via Pixabay)

Adwatch: New TV ads launch in Pennsylvania’s Senate race

At least seven new TV ads are out this week in Pennsylvania’s neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Pat Toomey and Democratic nominee Katie McGinty. The race could help determine control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 8 election. Here is a look at two of the new ads:


THEME: An Arlington, Virginia-based super PAC, Freedom Partners Action Fund, is attacking McGinty.

TITLE: “Last Time.”

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

AIRING: Undisclosed markets, beginning Sept. 21.

KEY CLAIM: “McGinty made thousands from companies she previously regulated, but wanted hard working taxpayers to pay even more.”

ANALYSIS: The ad is one of the many political and policy groups steered by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.

It is lumping together McGinty’s service as Pennsylvania’s secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection from 2003 through 2008 and her six months of service as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff last year.

After she left the Department of Environmental Protection, she secured board or advisory positions with at least three companies that had energy interests in Pennsylvania and received contracts or subsidies from a state government agency while McGinty was in office.

At least two of those board positions — with Iberdrola USA and NRG Energy — paid six figures a year.

While serving as Wolf’s chief of staff, Wolf proposed a 2015-16 fiscal-year tax package that the state Legislature’s Independent Fiscal Office projected would have raised a net of $4.6 billion in the 2018-19 fiscal year, the first full fiscal year it was to take effect. It would have raised taxes on income, sales, Marcellus Shale natural gas production, cigarettes and bank profits while cutting taxes on property and corporate profits.

Critics called it the largest tax increase in Pennsylvania’s history, and the Republican-controlled Legislature ultimately rejected every penny of it.

The Wolf administration had sought to pump more money into public education, meet rising pension and health care costs, and plug a large projected deficit in state finances that has driven down Pennsylvania’s bond rating.


THEME: A Washington, D.C.-based super PAC, Senate Majority PAC, is attacking Toomey.

TITLE: “Let’s Not.”

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

AIRING: In Pittsburgh, Scranton and Harrisburg, beginning Sept. 23.

KEY CLAIM: “Toomey wanted corporations to pay zero in taxes, the same Toomey who’s already given tax breaks to Big Oil and Wall Street. The ones who are funding his campaign.”

ANALYSIS: This ad is from a national Democratic group that works to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate.

It refers to a Toomey interview on CNBC in 2007 when he was the head of the Washington, D.C.-based anti-tax, free-market advocacy organization, Club for Growth.

During a five-minute interview in response to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s call to cut corporate taxes, Toomey said: “Let’s not tax corporations. Let’s allow them to compete most aggressively in the global economy. It’s better for our workers. it’s better for our economy. It would attract more capital. I think the solution is to eliminate corporate taxes altogether.”

On tax breaks, the ad is citing various Toomey votes against Democratic efforts to repeal tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry. The most recent was in 2012. It also cites Toomey’s 2003 vote when he was in the U.S. House to cut $330 billion in taxes over a decade, including a provision to lower taxes on capital gains and stock dividends to a maximum of 15 percent, down from 38.6 percent tax on dividends and 20 percent on capital gains.

Nearly every Democrat voted against it, and critics said it would saddle future generations with debt. In the Senate, Toomey voted to allow the top tax rate on capital gains to rise to 20 percent in 2013.

On Toomey’s campaign funding, the ad cites an analysis of Toomey’s campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Commission by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

It found that nearly $4 million in campaign contributions over Toomey’s career in the House and Senate came from people in securities or investment professions or the oil and gas industry. That’s out of $48 million raised through June 30, 2016.


Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timelywriter. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/author/marc-levy.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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