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In 2012, the Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM) accused the DFL of ignoring Minnesota state campaign finance laws when it filed a complaint with the Campaign Finance Disclosure Board. Here’s part of the Board’s Findings of Fact:

Lit Happens is a political media consulting company based in Minneapolis, MN operating as a sole proprietorship of Vic Thorstenson. Lit Happens was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating the elections of Vicki Jensen, Alan Oberloh, and Tom Saxhaug.

The Pivot Group, Inc. (Pivot) is a political media consulting company based in Arlington, VA. Pivot was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating for the elections of Jim Carlson, Kevin Dahle, Kent Eken, Melisa Franzen, Laurie McKendry, and Matt Schmit.

Compass Media Group, Inc. (Compass) is a political media consulting company based in Chicago, IL. Compass was retained by the Senate Caucus Party Unit to design, produce, and distribute communications advocating for the election of Greg Clausen, Alice Johnson, Susan Kent, and Lyle Koenen or the defeat of their opponents.

The reason why this is important is because these expenditures weren’t attributed to the “Senate Caucus Party Unit.” The disclaimer on the mailers said that they were paid for by “the DFL Central Committee Party Unit.” Here’s what happened:

Lit Happens either took photos during the candidate’s door knocking event with the Senate Caucus Party Unit or when the candidate was in St. Paul on other business. In each case, someone acting on behalf of the Senate Caucus Party Unit contacted the candidate or a representative of the candidate to arrange for the candidate to be at a location where Vic Thorstenson would take the photographs. The candidates followed all direction, if any, provided by the photographer.

In other words, DFL Senate candidates worked with the Senate Caucus Party Unit on mailers sent out by the “DFL Central Committee Party Unit” and paid for by the “Senate Caucus Party Unit.” This information is important, too:

In the cases of those candidates about whom literature pieces were prepared by Compass and Pivot, Senate Caucus Party Unit campaign staff contacted the candidates or the candidates’ campaign managers or other representatives to arrange schedules for the photo shoots with the photographers. Each candidate agreed to a schedule involving multiple locations for the photo shoots and arrived at the specified starting location at the scheduled time.

In connection with the photo shoots taken by Compass and Pivot, the candidates were asked to bring wardrobe changes so that different looks could be obtained in different settings. Each candidate who was asked to bring wardrobe changes did so. All candidates followed the photographers’ directions regarding wardrobe changes and other matters relating to the photo shoots and fully participated in the photo shoots.

That’s what’s known as coordination and it’s illegal under state and federal election laws. Coordination between candidates and state party units or independent expenditure groups is prohibited. Of the 13 candidates that coordinated their activities with the DFL Central Committee Party Unit and/or the Senate Caucus Party Unit, 11 were elected. That gave the DFL a majority in the Senate.

In short, the DFL paid a $100,000 fine in exchange for their Senate majority. I’m betting that Alida Messinger, Mark Dayton and Tom Bakk think that that was a wise investment. Thanks to the DFL’s lawlessness, they passed a horrific budget that benefitted the DFL’s special interest allies in the Twin Cities but did little or nothing to help the regular folks in outstate Minnesota.

I’m betting that the DFL’s ends-justify-the-means attitude towards elections won’t play well in 2016. The DFL’s willingness to do whatever it takes to acquire and maintain power isn’t an attractive attribute.

Paul Thissen’s op-ed in Friday night’s St. Cloud Times is breathtakingly dishonest. Here’s a prime example of Thissen’s dishonesty:

On the campaign trail, Republicans like Daudt attacked these accomplishments as inadequate, attacks ironically financed by enormous contributions from big Twin Cities corporate special interests. So it seems fair to ask:

Will Republicans be willing to stand up to their big Twin Cities corporate donors and make sure to continue DFL investments in education that are closing the funding gap between rural and suburban school districts rather than handing out corporate tax breaks?

I frequently wrote about the Democrats’ dishonest claims that Republicans supported “handing out corporate tax breaks.” To be fair, most of those claims were made against Torrey Westrom’s and Stewart Mills’ congressional campaigns but Thissen’s claims are dishonest just the same. One of the DCCC’s ads accused Torrey Westrom of shutting down the government “to give tax breaks to his wealthy friends.”

First, Republicans haven’t written any legislation that would “hand out corporate tax breaks. Thissen knows that’s verifiable fact but he doesn’t care because he’s utterly dishonest. Soon-to-be Minority Leader Thissen can clear this all up by citing which legislation the Republicans authored would’ve given corporations tax breaks.

Most importantly, though, let’s focus on who funded the DFL’s legislative campaign. In St. Cloud, the DFL paid for most of the campaign mailers. I don’t recall getting any mailers from Dorholt’s campaign proper. I also got mailers from a pro-union group called Working America Minnesota Political Fund. This is one of their mailers:

Will Minority Leader Thissen “be willing to stand up to [his] big Twin Cities” special interest allies in the next legislative session? Will he stand up to the environmental activist wing of the DFL? Will he tell Alida Messinger that he’ll steadfastly support mining on the Iron Range?

History shows he won’t. When AFSCME and SEIU insisted that the DFL impose forced unionization on small businesses, then-Speaker Thissen didn’t think twice. Rather than siding with the hard-working ladies who run in-home child care facilities, Thissen and the DFL voted with Eliot Seide and Javier Morillo-Alicea instead.

When convenience stores told him not to raise the cigarette tax because that’d hurt their businesses, Thissen didn’t just ignore them. He raised the cigarette tax $1.50 a pack. Thanks to Thissen and the DFL, convenience stores in Greater Minnesota got hurt.

Will a Republican legislature respond to the unique economic challenges that have made it harder for our economic recovery to be felt from border-to-border?

Unlike the DFL of the last 2 years, the GOP House will respond to Greater Minnesota’s economic needs. The GOP didn’t ignore small businesses’ calls to not start applying the sales tax on business-to-business transactions. In the House, the DFL voted for raising those taxes. After they got an earful from businesses after the session, the DFL knew that they’d overreached.

Sensing that their majority status in the House was in jeopardy, the DFL quickly moved to repeal the B2B sales taxes that they’d passed just months before.

Paul Thissen wasn’t the only DFL legislator who displayed hostility to businesses. That’s why he’ll soon be the House Minority Leader rather than getting another term as Speaker.

If there’s anything that’s clear about the Eighth District race, it’s that Eighth District voters voted for a congressman who will be utterly irrelevant:

Candidates for 8th District Congress from the Brainerd Area received 254,004 votes on Tuesday, with Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan polling a mere 3,636 more ballots than Republican Stewart Mills. The result: A narrow re-election victory for Nolan in a race that drew national media attention and more than $12 million in independent groups for advertising — mostly television.

A final count gives Nolan 128,820 to 125,184 for Mills, a 48.5 percent to 47.1 percent margin. Nolan and Mills volleyed the lead for about two hours until the congressman opened about a 2 percent lead at 10 p.m., which he maintained with only slight slippage until Wednesday morning when his lead was too much to overcome.

The Eighth District just voted for a man who will be utterly irrelevant when the next Congress is sworn in. Nancy Pelosi’s caucus will have their smallest caucus since 1929. Seriously, that’s how irrelevant they’ll be.

More important, the Iron Range voted against its own self interest. They voted for a life-long environmentalist who won’t lift a finger to open PolyMet. The DFL is dominated by environmental elitists from the Twin Cities. That won’t change anytime soon because the environmental elitists write big checks to the DFL. The Range’s legislators are subjected to the Metrocrats’ agenda and always will be until the Range breaks away from the DFL.

Republicans were accused of playing the PolyMet issue for political advantage. Rangers said they’d forget about PolyMet the day after the election. To be fair, Republicans haven’t always had the Range’s best interests at heart so a certain amount of distrust is justifiable.

What Rangers are about to find out, though, is that PolyMet wasn’t just a political position taken by Republicans for the 2014 election. Rangers will see the Republicans’ commitment to PolyMet and other similar projects. The Range will find out that Republicans want people prospering wherever they live in Minnesota.

Finally, Rangers will find out that this isn’t their daddies’ DFL. This DFL is run by Alida Messinger, the woman who writes big checks to environmental organizations and to the DFL in her effort to prevent PolyMet from getting built. If Rangers keep voting for the DFL, they’ll continue to have the same shitty economy they’ve had for the last 15-20 years.

Einstein once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I disagree. Voting for the DFL again and again, then expecting the FL and Alida Messinger to change is either stupidity or political suicide. The DFL won’t change. It’s time the Range finally admitted that.

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There’s all sorts of buzz around St. Paul of post-election plans by radical environmentalists to launch an offensive to kill copper-nickel mining in Minnesota. That’s been the stated goal of environmental organizations like the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Friends of the Boundary Waters, Conservation Minnesota and MCEA. It’s verified fact that Alida Rockefeller, one of the DFL’s biggest contributors and Gov. Dayton’s ex-wife, is responsible for much of the money that goes into these anti-mining organizations while supporting Gov. Dayton’s political activities.

Sources close to organized labor active in northeastern Minnesota say that Ms. Messinger and her allies are now prepared to fund a PR campaign to kill PolyMet. That’s certain to get these miners’ attention. Alida Messinger’s post-election agenda won’t sit well with union workers who would work on the construction of the mine or the union workers who would fill the mining positions once the plant opens. As a result, at least some of the rank-and-file might stop supporting the DFL.

Rumor has it that a prominent, talented DFL strategist is already lined up for this aggressive campaign. This strategist allegedly has been approached by Big Labor. This strategist has allegedly been quite coy about what’s coming.

The biggest question remaining is simple. What, if anything, does Gov. Dayton know about this anti-PolyMet PR offensive? Given his unwillingness to support mining projects like PolyMet even if they meet environmental standards, I think it’s a more than fair question to ask.

I still think that Jeff Johnson will win this race. If Gov. Dayton is re-elected, though, will Iron Rangers trust Gov. Dayton to not be swayed by a massive anti-mining ad campaign? Will blue collar voters in northeastern Minnesota demand answers from Dayton before Tuesday?

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Watching all the ads being run by Nancy Pelosi’s PAC, the Franken campaign, the Nolan campaign and all the anti-business rhetoric coming from the Dayton campaign, DFL chairman Ken Martin and other anti-business parasites, there’s only one conclusion you can draw. The DFL and its candidates hate employers. Joe Soucheray’s column highlights the DFL’s silliness perfectly:

It’s to the point of comedy that the national Democratic Party has raced to Minnesota to help Nolan out with television ads that feature yachts and private airplanes and white sand beaches. I guess the voter is supposed to believe that Mills sits around all day and has grapes fed to him as he pages through the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog pining for a new Maserati Ghibli S Q4.

Whether it’s Nancy Pelosi’s superPAC or Rick Nolan’s campaign, the hard left’s disdain for companies is unmistakable. It’s in each of their ads against Stewart Mills. What’s most appalling is that the DFL’s agenda doesn’t have a thing in it that says they’re pro-capitalism. In fact, when the DFL held their state convention, Iron Range Democrats wanted the state party to ad a simple sentence to their party’s platform. That simple sentence was to say that the DFL supports mining.

After hours of negotiations, aka Metrocrats intimidating the Iron Range delegation, that simple sentence was dropped because Alida Messinger declared that statement was too controversial. Nolan isn’t the only 1970s reject that thinks companies are evil:

The Franken camp says that as an investment banker, McFadden has brokered the sales of companies that have resulted in the loss of jobs. Well, that can be true in some cases. In other cases, there will be a gain of jobs. Besides, once a company is bought or sold, what does McFadden have to do with it? The Franken camp also insists that McFadden has been involved with companies that have committed the mortal sin of tax inversion by moving their headquarters overseas. No. McFadden’s company represented a foreign company being bought, not the U.S. company moving abroad. That’s business, however unfamiliar Franken might be to business.

In Franken’s thinking, the problem isn’t that the tax code is filled with special favors. It’s that small businesses, aka the rich, aren’t paying a high enough tax rate. The thing is that Franken and Nolan haven’t started a business that requires sound judgment. That’s why they don’t know that many of these small businesses owners work 60-75 hours/week to build a business, paying their employees first, then paying their bills before they can start funding their retirement and their kids’ college education.

After sweating through tough times before getting to the point of profitability, then idiots like Dayton, Franken and Nolan accuse them of being greedy and of “not paying their fair share.”

The truth is that Stewart Mills and Mike McFadden have done more to improve middle class families’ lives in 5 years than Dayton, Franken and Nolan have done in a lifetime. Long-winded politicians haven’t paid for their employees’ health insurance or contributed to their employees’ retirement accounts or paid them a good wage that put a roof over their employees’ families’ heads. Stewart Mills and Mike McFadden have.

When Dayton, Franken and Nolan do that for a generation, then I’ll listen, not a minute before.

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Recently, I got another smear campaign mailer from the DFL smearing Jim Knoblach. It isn’t shocking that the DFL is into smearing Republicans. It’s that the DFL’s mailer has a picture of a senior citizen with the caption “Tell Jim Knoblach to keep his hands off our Social Security and Medicare.”

It’s painfully obvious that the DFL knows that state legislators don’t have anything to do with Medicare or Social Security. Just because the DFL is without character and can’t be shamed because they don’t have a conscience, that doesn’t mean that they’re stupid.

They’re just disgustingly unprincipled and utterly without virtue.

While it’s true that Jim Knoblach supported giving people the option of putting a portion of their FICA taxes into a government-approved equity account when he ran for Congress in 2006, that’s utterly irrelevant in this race. Jim Knoblach, if he’s elected, will never cast a vote on Social Security or Medicare because they’re federal programs.

This DFL’s intent with this mailer is to scare senior citizens into voting for Zach Dorholt. If’s apparent that the DFL doesn’t care that it’s fearmongering at its worst. It’s important to remember what Howard Dean said after being elected chair of the DNC:

It’s a battle between good and evil…and we’re the good.

In Dean’s mind, the ends justified the means. If that meant smearing people with lies, that’s the path he’d take without hesitation. That’s the mindset that Ken Martin brought with him from ABM to the DFL.

In Martin’s mind, the only thing that matters is winning elections and checking items off the DFL’s ideological checklist. It’s irrelevant if it helps Minnesotans. It’s only relevant if it makes their special interests’ lives better.

The DFL insists that it’s for the little guy. That’s BS and it’s verifiable. The Metrocrat wing of the DFL, made up mostly by plutocrats and elitists, has done everything to prevent PolyMet from getting built. If the DFL cared about Iron Range voters, they wouldn’t say that building the mine is important but dragging the regulatory review for 9 years is more important.

If the DFL cared about the little guy, they wouldn’t have shoved forced unionization onto child care providers.

Zach Dorholt voted for the forced unionization of child care providers. He voted for major business-to-business sales tax increases and the Senate Office Building. After the session, he caught hell from St. Cloud businesses for creating these new taxes. These businesses lobbied him hard during the session. He ignored them then. It wasn’t until after the session that he started listening to these businesses.

Dorholt is chair of the House Higher Ed Committee. That’s a position of authority yet he hasn’t lifted a finger to investigate the wasteful spending at MnSCU’s Central Office nor has he looked into the financial mismanagement at SCSU. Despite the fact that SCSU is facing $8,000,000-$10,000,000 of budget cuts this year and despite the fact that the Potter administration hasn’t published a budget report yet, Zach Dorholt hasn’t looked into these issues.

All he cares about is whether he can report that he increased spending on Higher Education.

How does that qualify as helping the little guy or middle class families? That’s before asking Mr. Dorholt how the Dayton-Dorholt-DFL budget is creating part-time, low wage jobs helps grow the economy from the middle class out?

The truth is that the DFL doesn’t care about prosperity. They don’t care about great jobs throughout the state. They don’t care if public institutions foolishly spend the taxpayers’ money. How dare they send out mailers that frighten senior citizens while smearing a great policymaker.

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Since their foundation, the Alliance for a Better Minnesota has specialized in dishonesty. In fact, they’ve been one of the most dishonest political actors in Minnesota politics. Their latest ad is titled Impossible:

Here’s the transcript of that ad:

My kids and I lived on minimum wage. It was nearly impossible to get by. But TEA Party Republican Jeff Johnson says if he’s elected governor, he’ll find a bill to reduce the minimum wage. Johnson’s plan would hurt over 350,000 Minnesota workers. Johnson opposes raising the minimum wage but he supports tax breaks for big corporations. Jeff Johnson has the wrong priorities for Minnesota.

This ad isn’t totally dishonest but it’s definitely deceptive. When the woman said that Jeff Johnson opposed raising the minimum wage, ABM cited House Journal page 3417…from May, 2005. When she talks about “tax breaks for big corporations,” she’s citing House Journal page 3934…from May, 2005.

What this young lady didn’t mention in talking about politicians supporting “tax breaks for big corporations” is that TEA Party Republicans weren’t the only people to vote for “tax breaks for big corporations.” Democrats like Paul Thissen, Nora Slawik, Pat Opatz, Denise Dittrich, Ron Erhardt, Bev Scalze, Katie Sieben and Ann Lenczewski voted for “tax breaks for big corporations,” too. Thissen, of course, is the current Speaker of the House while Katie Sieben is Gov. Dayton’s commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, aka DEED.

The first thrust of this ad is that Jeff Johnson’s opposition to raising the minimum wage makes him unfit for office while the other thrust of this ad is that people voting for “tax breaks for big corporations” is a trouble-making arch-conservative. Apparently, ABM either didn’t do their homework or they chose to omit the fact that “tax breaks for big corporations” had solid bipartisan support. (It’s likely the latter because a) it doesn’t fit their narrative and b) ABM isn’t sloppy with their research.)

What’s sad, though, is that this woman apparently was stuck in a minimum wage job for a lengthy period of time. Minnesota’s economy should do better than that. The fact that 350,000 people are trapped in minimum wage jobs is an indictment of the Dayton-DFL economy.

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Two weeks ago, I published this post that highlighted this video, which focused on education:

Here’s the transcript of that video:

I think a lot of Minnesotans don’t know what Jeff Johnson stands for. It seems like schools are not Jeff Johnson’s priority. Jeff Johnson cut early childhood spending. That really bothers me. Any cuts to that would be devastating for our family. Our kids are our future so how could you do that? I would hate to see Minnesota take a step backwards in education. Students in the state of Minnesota deserve far better than that. I trust Mark Dayton. We think Gov. Dayton is the right choice for moving Minnesota’s schools forward.

Now that ad, which is paid for by the Alliance for More Powerful Unions, aka the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, is running constantly. I said in the original post that everything in the ad was about spending. It definitely didn’t focus on teacher accountability.

I doubt that many Minnesotans object to the thought of having qualified teachers in every high school classroom in Minnesota. The only people who’d object to that are Education Minnesota, Gov. Dayton and Zach Dorholt. That isn’t a cheapshot, either. In 2011, the GOP legislature passed a bill requiring high school math and science teachers to pass a basic skills test. Gov. Dayton signed that bill. After the 2012 election, and with an all-DFL government in St. Paul, Education Minnesota called in their biggest chit. Education Minnesota told the DFL legislature and Gov. Dayton that the basic skills test had to be repealed. ASAP.

Despite their public statements, Education Minnesota isn’t about putting highly qualified teachers in every classroom. Education Minnesota is about representing the best interests of their members, nothing more, nothing less.

The tip that voters should notice is the couple saying that they trust Gov. Dayton. What they’re saying is that they’re either steadfastly pro-union or they’re totally uninformed voters who’ve bought the Dayton campaign’s spin.

Though the ad touts Gov. Dayton’s support of Education Minnesota, it could tout Zach Dorholt’s support of Education Minnesota. When it comes to supporting everything on the public employees unions’ wish list, nobody gets higher grades than Zach Dorholt. Or Gov. Dayton. Or Speaker Thissen. Or Mike Nelson. Or any other DFL legislator.

The reality is that the DFL legislature is a subsidiary of the special interests.

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I just published this post to highlight the DCCC’s campaign ad smearing Stewart Mills. Here’s the centerpiece of the DCCC’s smear campaign against Mills:

“Stewart Mills III caught a big inheritance and a job at the family business that pay half-a-million year. But in Congress, Mills will leave you on the hook for higher taxes because Mills opposed tax cuts for the middle class – even as he wants to give another huge tax break to millionaires like himself.”

Next, let’s compare that DCCC lie against Stewart Mills with the lie the DCCC is telling about Torrey Westrom:

“Westrom led the charge to shutdown Minnesota’s government. Why? Because he wouldn’t let go of tax breaks for millionaires.

Here’s Poligraph’s verdict against the DCCC’s lie against Torrey Westrom:

The 2011 government shutdown happened because Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican controlled Legislature could not agree on a budget to close the state’s $5 billion deficit. Dayton wanted to raise taxes on Minnesota’s top earners (which he did in the last legislative session), but Republicans objected.

That’s true but incomplete. Poligraph’s verdict left out the fact that Republicans were prepared to pass a lights-on bill that would’ve avoided a shutdown while Republicans negotiated a budget solution with Gov. Dayton. Poligraph’s verdict also left out the fact that the budget Gov. Dayton signed after the longest shutdown in state history was the budget he could’ve signed at the end of the regular legislative session.

Further, the budget that the GOP legislature passed never, at any point, included tax cuts for any income group. PERIOD.

The DCCC’s ad is a lie. They’ve done the research on the 2011 budget that Gov. Dayton signed. Their researchers kept track of the bills and amendments that Republicans offered. I triple-dog dare the DCCC to cite the HF/SF number or the amendment offered by Torrey Westrom or anyone in the House or Senate that would’ve cut millionaire’s taxes.

They won’t accept that offer because they know a ‘millionaire’s tax cut’ bill doesn’t exist, especially in Minnesota.

Whether it’s the DCCC, ABM or another of the DFL ‘alphabets’, the script remains the same. The script isn’t the script if it doesn’t lie in accusing Republicans of wanting to cut millionaires’ taxes. I can’t say that that accusation is fictional because the definition of fiction is “something feigned, invented, or imagined; a made-up story.” The DCCC doesn’t engage in fiction. It just lies through its teeth. Here’s the definition of lies:

a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.

That’s what the DCCC and ABM do with frightening regularity.

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According to MPR’s article, the DCCC’s latest ad attacking Stewart Mills doesn’t get much right:

The closest the DCCC ad comes to correct is in its claims about Mills personal wealth.

After that, the DCCC gets its facts wrong. Mills said he opposed the Cash for Clunkers program, but that has nothing to do with opposing middle class tax cuts. And while Mills has talked around the issue of tax reform, giving few details on what he would do, the DCCC makes some assumptions about how Mills would vote on tax cuts for the wealthy if he were elected to Congress.

For leaving out critical details, this ad is misleading at best.

That’s MPR’s verdict. Here’s their unabridged version:

In the DCCC’s latest ad, a Mills stand-in hops on his yacht, and motors off into the sunset:

“Stewart Mills III caught a big inheritance and a job at the family business that pay half-a-million year. But in Congress, Mills will leave you on the hook for higher taxes because Mills opposed tax cuts for the middle class – even as he wants to give another huge tax break to millionaires like himself.”
This ad enters rough waters.

The Evidence

Mills is the Vice President of Mills Fleet Farm, his family’s business where Mills has spent his career. According to financial disclosure documents, Mills was paid more than $500,000 to do that job in 2013, and has company assets into the tens-of-millions.

To back up its claim that Mills opposes tax cuts for the middle class, the DCCC points to a January 2014 Start Tribune profile of the 8th district race. Mills told the Star Tribune that the Cash for Clunkers program, which paid people to turn in their old gas guzzlers, was “another failed example of Washington, D.C., trying to legislate the free market.”

What does Cash for Clunkers have to do with middle class tax cuts? Nothing.

Whether it’s the DCCC, the Alliance for a Better Minnesota or Nancy Pelosi’s House Majority PAC, the script doesn’t change. Candidate fill-in-the-blank wants to give millionaires tax breaks while voting against tax cuts for the middle class. The other thing that doesn’t change is whether it’s a lie. Poligraph is right. The DCCC ad gets it right that Stewart Mills has personal wealth. After that, they’re pretty much lying through their teeth. So is Rick Nolan, who lifted a big part of the DCCC’s script and put it into his ad attacking Stewart Mills.

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