Mudslinging Revealed: Fact checking Cochran’s dirty campaign.

By MississippI PEP Staff | May 5th, 2014 at 7:12 am

BY: MississippI PEP Staff /

The MS PEP Staff consists of a number of volunteers across the state dedicated to sharing news and commentary important to conservatives.

Filed Under: Uncategorized

Thad Cochran has run a negative campaign against Chris McDaniel, highlighting six different arguments. All six of the arguments are either lies or distortions of Senator McDaniel’s record. Thad should run on his record, instead of mudslinging.

FACT CHECKING THAD COCHRAN’S ATTACK ADS:

(1) Katrina Disaster Relief?

COCHRAN CLAIM: Thad Cochran’s attack ad titled ‘Don’t Know’ says that when Chris McDaniel was asked about whether he would support Hurricane relief after Katrina that he answered, “I don’t know.”

TRUTHChris McDaniel supports disaster relief, but not disastrous government waste, fraud and abuse. (Tweet this)

  • In a television interview with WLOX’s Dave Elliott, Chris said, “Absolutely I would have supported Katrina relief. Absolutely. It is a legitimate function of the central government to take care of people when they’ve been affected by tragedies like Katrina, and hurricanes of that nature and magnitude. When we make those decisions, we can’t afford the waste, the fraud, and the abuse that goes along with that sometimes. Absolutely, yes for hurricane relief. Absolutely, yes. I support it. But we have to make sure we have the structural oversights in place where we don’t allow the fraud, waste, and abuse.”
  • In an interview with WXXV Fox 25 Chris said, “Absolutely I would support Hurricane Katrina relief. Absolutely I would support disaster relief. The relief has to reach the intended beneficiaries. It makes no sense for Mississippi to be hit with a hurricane and have federal money spent in Maine, or federal money spent in Nevada. (Tweet This) That money needs to be for the people of Mississippi. We have to make sure the bills we pass are clean, they’re free, they make sense logistically and fiscally for the people of this state, not for the people of other states. Yes I would support Hurricane Katrina relief, no question about it.”
  • Senator McDaniel has clearly stated in print as well: “I support disaster relief efforts for massive tragedies like Katrina, and I’ve told the media that on several occasions. However, fraud, waste, abuse and misspent funds must never be allowed. The disaster relief MUST reach the intended beneficiaries, and we MUST be responsible with taxpayer dollars.”

In the Politico interview Cochran’s attack ad references, Chris was asked if he would have voted specifically for the bill containing the billions of dollars that ended up being fraudulently doled out and wasted in no-bid contracts.

The question is a disingenuous one, seeing as how Chris was not in the Senate chamber. Were Chris in the Senate chamber for that vote, he would have stood on the floor for as long as possible and necessary to make sure that Washington’s politics as usual did not send federal disaster relief dollars to states other than those affected by the disaster.

Chris answered, “(I would) have to see the details of it … because if it’s filled with pork … I would have a serious problem with that.”

FACT: In a 2007 analysis of Katrina relief spending it was estimated that there was enough cash “to give each man, woman and child in the three southernmost counties $68,500 apiece.”

The “U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates FEMA lost $1 of every $6 to ‘fraud, waste and abuse’ for the first $6 billion it spent after Katrina.”

In other reports and in testimony to Congress officials estimated the waste from federal Katrina relief to be $2 billion.

Related Article: HUD says federal Katrina recovery money, eminent domain misused in Mississippi. 

“A Republican Study Committee audit discovered that millions went for ‘peace’ and ‘diversity’ workshops, a ‘yearlong celebration of trees, gardens and other healing places,’ theater workshops, anger-management classes and multiculturalism programs to discuss who we are and why we are here.’ … Evacuees got a free massage or acupuncture treatment. Group counseling sessions and medical checkups were also available, as well as yoga class in the morning and live music—roving mariachi bands, rock ’n’ roll acts, singers with acoustic guitars—at night.”

Cochran fought hard to be sure no-bid contracts were part of the Katrina relief package and that only Haley Barbour held the reins of the spending.

TRUTH: “within months of Katrina’s 2005 devastation, Barbour enlisted Thad Cochran to divert $100 million in federal disaster aid toward a new statewide digital radio system.” Barbour used the power Cochran had given him to give the contract to Motorola, one of Barbour’s clients as a lobbyist. The diversion of funds has resulted in a now unusable system and Motorola asking for $13 million more to make it workable. (Tweet this)

(2) Chris’s Voting Record?
COCHRAN CLAIM: Thad Cochran claims that “In 2008, Republicans in Mississippi were nominating a candidate in the primary to take on Barack Obama in the Presidential election. Chris McDaniel did not vote in that election, either.”

TRUTH: Jones County Circuit Clerk says Cochran’s voting claims against Chris rely on incomplete records. (Tweet this) Jones County’s Circuit Clerk Bart Gavin has stated that Mississippi has changed recording systems several times over the years and Cochran’s claims rely on older and faulty records. Gavin certified that the updated records show Senator McDaniel voted in the 2008 primary election. You can see McDaniel’s certified official voting record HERE.

(3) Trial Lawyer/Tort Reform?
COCHRAN CLAIM: Chris is a “personal injury trial lawyer” who argued in court against the caps on damages brought about by tort reform.

TRUTH: Chris is a civil defense attorney, and he has voted consistently for tort reform as a state senator. (Tweet this) Chris has spent the vast majority of his time defending businesses both small and large against frivolous law suits.

Related Article: Chris has NEVER argued in court against caps on damages. 

Chris is not a member of any trial lawyer organizations. To the contrary he is a member of the following associations aligned with legal defense:

Federalist Society

— Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association

— Mississippi Claims Association

— Republican National Lawyers Association

Thad Cochran’s campaign and his allies’ scurrilous guilt-by-association attacks are intended to distort Chris’s record and hide Thad’s liberal record. The ad claims that because Chris represented a client in one hearing, then he is somehow guilty of arguing for that same client in a separate argument in which court documents show McDaniel had no part.

Senator McDaniel has voted for every tort reform measure to come before him for a vote as a state senator, and his career has been defending businesses against frivolous lawsuits.

  • He has been named a BIPEC business champion,
  • has a 95 percent lifetime rating by the National Federation of Independent Business,
  • and was named one of the top 50 lawyers in the state by the Mississippi Business Journal.

Chris authored and fought over the past several years to finally pass the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act in 2013 in Mississippi, a law that allows small businesses to directly challenge burdensome regulations.

He has owned his own businesses, and has donated his time to sue the federal government to stop ObamaCare.

Chris voted for all of the following tort reform and pro-business bills:

— Chris authored the Corporation Franchise Tax Repeal Act of 2008 (S.B. 3107), 2009, (S.B. 2131), 2010 (S.B. 2062), 2012 (S.B. 2645), 2013 (S.B. 2247), and 2014 (S.B. 2467).

— Chris authored the Inventory Tax Repeal Acts of 2011 (S.B. 2515), 2012 (S.B. 2204), and 2014 (S.B. 2442).

Sunshine Act (HB 211), 05/02/12 placed incremental restrictions upon the amount of contingency fees that can be paid out of a specific recovery amount.

SB 2439, 03/07/12: Provided liability protection for businesses engaged in agri-tourism.

SB 3073, 02/05/09 required a certificate of merit for lawsuits filed against licensed professional realtors, homebuilders, engineer, home remodelers, surveyors, etc.

SB 2998, Tort Claims Act, 02/27/08: provide immunity in tort claims to physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants providing medical services to Medicaid recipients.

(4) Common Core?
COCHRAN CLAIM: Chris supports Common Core.

TRUTH: Chris McDaniel is one of the top conservatives leading the charge against Common Core in the Mississippi state senate. As the Chairman of the Mississippi Senate Conservative Coalition he has toured the state to talk with parents and community leaders about the dangers of the federal takeover of education. Chris introduced and cosponsored bills and supported amendments to fully end, defund, and pause implementation of Common Core in Mississippi.

FACT: Cochran signed a letter of support for Common Core. (See the letter here)

Chris has fought Common Core and the federal takeover of Mississippi’s schools at every turn. (Tweet this)

— Chris McDaniel co-sponsored a bill to put Common Core on hold. (S.B. No. 2526, Jan. 20, 2014)

— Chris McDaniel co-sponsored a bill to immediately halt any further implementation of Common Core. (S.B. No. 2632, Jan. 20, 2014)

— Chris McDaniel sponsored a bill to allow parents of public school students to opt their children out of mandatory electronic data tracking system (S.B. No. 2436, Jan. 20, 2014)

(5) Spending?
COCHRAN CLAIM: Chris McDaniel is a big spender, and has ‘earmarked’ bond bills with special projects increasing state debt.

TRUTH: The attempt to define anyone as a big spender in comparison to Cochran is laughable, and when it comes to McDaniel’s record on spending, they know better.

While the process of developing a bond bill is sometimes abused for political gain by leadership, Senator McDaniel has never ‘earmarked’ a bond bill, and Mississippi is constitutionally required to balance it’s budget every year.

Furthermore, McDaniel has never asked for a special project, and he has voted against more of them than any other current state senator. In fact, McDaniel has voted AGAINST more than $1 billion in bonds in past four years alone. (Tweet this)

Senator Cochran’s allies want you to look in a different direction, because his refusal to support even the slightest spending cuts, and his billions in ‘earmarks’ have enriched them, and aren’t so flattering to his immediate future prospects for reelection.

COCHRAN CLAIM: The ad criticizes McDaniel for “voting to increase Mississippi’s debt by $1.2 billion.”

TRUTH: Senator Cochran’s $1.2 billion figure includes seven bills that didn’t become law, including one that never came up for a vote, and two bills that McDaniel did not approve on the final vote.

Nearly all of the approved debt was signed into law by then-Gov. Haley Barbour — who, according to his nephew and former campaign manager, is a fundraiser for the super PAC behind this attack ad.

What is Chris’s record on spending?

Chris McDaniel votes routinely against wasteful spending:

— He was one of only a few legislators to vote against bond bills that increase the state’s debt.

— Chris was one of two senators to vote no on the April 2013 bond bill. (Apr. 1, 2013)

— Chris was one of only four to vote against the April 2012 bond bill. (Apr. 17, 2012)

— Chris voted twice against the House’s bond bills in 2011. (Mar. 15, 2011 & Apr. 4, 2011)

— Chris voted twice against the Senate’s bond bills in 2011. (Feb. 23, 2011 & Mar 27, 2011)

— Chris voted twice against the Senate’s bond bill in 2010. (Feb. 18, 2010 & Feb. 25, 2010)

— Chris was one of three senators to vote against 2014 Senate bond bill. (Feb. 26, 2014)

— Chris was one of three senator to vote against 2014 House bond bill. (March 18, 2014)

(6) Chris’s Vote Not to Ban Cold Medicine?
COCHRAN CLAIM: McDaniel voted against anti-Meth laws.

In a press release on the issue, the Cochran campaign stated, “News reports have highlighted how effective the anti-meth production legislation has been in Mississippi as a ‘huge victory for drug enforcement in this state.’”

TRUTH: Anti-Meth legislation has not been effective. It has been a burden to law-abiding Mississippians, and has endangered our communities by attracting Mexican drug cartels.

The only other state that took Sudafed off the shelf is Oregon, which did so before Mississippi, and has had little effect on meth-use. No other states aside from Oregon and Mississippi require a prescription for Sudafed.

Chris looked at Oregon’s law and found unintended consequences of enforcement.

Mexican cartels have infiltrated almost every corner of Oregon with higher grade meth. At last count, authorities were aware of no fewer than 69 drug trafficking organizations selling drugs in the state, nearly all supplied by cartels.

Marshall Fisher, the Director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, said, “The Mexicans are still moving methamphetamine into Mississippi,” which “is impacted by the cartels and Mexico.”

Last year, Hinds County deputies made the largest meth bust in the county’s history, netting more than 10 kilograms of crystal meth, or “ice,” brought up from Mexico, valued at $1.3 million. So the problem of meth is not going away.

Unintended Consequences: Because of the new Mississippi law, there is now no way to track the sale of Sudafed to meth addicts. Now, those making it are more than likely buying it out of state.

According to one report from a top law enforcement officer in Jackson, “Meth use is still prominent as it always has been. We’re seeing the higher grade of meth coming from Mexico. They have the super labs, which refine the product to the purest form, and it’s demanding. Which is coming from Mexico and being trucked into the United States.”

The law penalizes the people in Mississippi and drives up healthcare costs. Now, when a law-abiding citizen has a cold or allergy symptoms, and needs some Sudafed, they have to take off work, pay to see the doctor, get a prescription, then go to the pharmacy and spend more to get the medication you can get over the counter in our neighboring states.

Source: McDaniel for U.S. Senate