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Jul 28 2014

Who’s Funding Senate Majority PAC?

With Harry Reid’s Senate Majority PAC releasing their latest attack ad against state Senator Joni Ernst, wanted to make sure you knew that some of their biggest donors are trial lawyers and liberal activists from Hollywood.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the Des Moines Register reported that Democrat outside groups have actually outspent Republican outside groups, but the good news is nobody is buying their false attacks.

BACKGROUND …

Trial Lawyers & Hollywood Producers Are Among Majority PAC’s Largest Donors

In The First Quarter Of 2014, The Trial Lawyers’ American Association For Justice (AAJ) PAC Contributed $200,000 To Senate Majority PAC. “Federal Election Commission records show that the trial lawyers’ American Association for Justice PAC in the last quarter gave $200,000 to Senate Majority PAC, which is run by former aides to Democratic U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.”(Jennifer Jacobs, “GOP Questions Timing Of Lawyers’ Newest Braley Donation,” The Des Moines Register,4/21/14)

In December 2013, The American Association For Justice PAC, Formerly Known As The Association Of Trial Lawyers Of America, Donated $100,000 To Majority PAC.” “Senate Majority PAC, the Democratic super PAC focused on Senate elections, raised more than $4.7 million from donors in the last half of 2013, according to a report filed on Friday. . . . Other large donations included $250,000 from a labor union for laborers and $100,000 from the air traffic controllers union. Hollywood producers Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg each gave $100,000, while producer Harvey Weinstein donated $100,000 through his Weinstein Co. Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) leadership PAC gave $50,000, and the political action committee for trial lawyers pitched in $100,000.” (Paul Blumenthal, “Senate Democratic Super PAC Raises Big Bucks To Defend Majority,” Huffington Post, 1/31/14)

In August 2013, Hollywood Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg Donated $100,000 To Majority PAC.“Senate Majority PAC, the Democratic super PAC focused on Senate elections, raised more than $4.7 million from donors in the last half of 2013, according to a report filed on Friday. . . . Hollywood producers Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg each gave $100,000, while producer Harvey Weinstein donated $100,000 through his Weinstein Co.” (Paul Blumenthal, “Senate Democratic Super PAC Raises Big Bucks To Defend Majority,” Huffington Post, 1/31/14)

In August 2013, Hollywood Producer Steven Spielberg Donated $100,000 To Majority PAC. “Senate Majority PAC, the Democratic super PAC focused on Senate elections, raised more than $4.7 million from donors in the last half of 2013, according to a report filed on Friday. . . . Hollywood producers Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg each gave $100,000, while producer Harvey Weinstein donated $100,000 through his Weinstein Co.” (Paul Blumenthal, “Senate Democratic Super PAC Raises Big Bucks To Defend Majority,” Huffington Post, 1/31/14)

In September 2013, Producer Harvey Weinstein Donated $100,000 To Majority PAC. “Senate Majority PAC, the Democratic super PAC focused on Senate elections, raised more than $4.7 million from donors in the last half of 2013, according to a report filed on Friday. . . . Hollywood producers Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg each gave $100,000, while producer Harvey Weinstein donated $100,000 through his Weinstein Co.” (Paul Blumenthal, “Senate Democratic Super PAC Raises Big Bucks To Defend Majority,” Huffington Post, 1/31/14)

Hollywood Producer Steve Bing Donated $250,000 To Majority PAC. “The biggest reported contributor was Hollywood producer Steve Bing, who gave a combined $400,000 to the two groups ($150,000 to American Bridge and $250,000 to Majority PAC), followed by the Service Employees International Union, which gave $350,000 ($100,000 to American Bridge and $250,000 to Majority PAC).” (Kenneth P. Vogel, “Hollywood Helping Dem Super PACs,” Politico, 7/29/11)

Democrats Are Outspending Republicans In Outside Money

Democrat Outside Groups Are Outspending Republican Outside Groups.  “Since the primary through last week, Democratic forces had outspent GOP forces by $700,000, advertising tracking records show. Ernst’s and Braley’s campaigns have spent roughly the same ($374,000 and $348,000).  The biggest spenders on TV ads: groups like the Senate Majority PAC and League of Conservation Voters on the left, and American Crossroads and Americans for Prosperity on the right.”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley Vs. Ernst: 8 Measures Of Who Has Edge In Race, The Des Moines Register, 07/27/14)

 


Jul 28 2014

Amy Walter: Bruce Braley Not So Good of a Candidate

 

NBC’S CHUCK TODD:  “Let’s move to Iowa, Amy.  This is probably — there is no race that has sort of changed more in the last six months than Iowa.”

COOK POLITICAL REPORT’S AMY WALTER: “Right. This was supposed to be an easy hold.  This is Tom Harkin’s seat. Bruce Braley was the candidate everybody united behind, he was going to have an easy race.  There was supposed to be a difficult Republican primary, that didn’t happen.  Joni Ernst has turned out to be a very good candidate, Bruce Braley not so good, having a lot of troubles.  And the state itself and when we talk about Colorado as a swing state, so is Iowa.  Let’s not forget that Iowa too has gone back and forth, it’s really more of a purple state.  If I were Republicans, I would much rather be focusing on states that have open seats, rather than trying to beat some of these incumbents.”

NBC’S CHUCK TODD:  “Iowa always looks more Democratic … but it really is a tipping pointing.  Who would you rather be, Ernst or Braley?”

THE WASHINGTON POST’S DAN BALZ:  “I don’t know on that one.  Terry Branstad is very focused on making this a big Republican year, but I still think that one is very hard to call.”

THE ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT’S  NATHAN GONZALES:  “I think the key is Braley has been on the defensive multiply times.”


Jul 28 2014

Bruce Braley Can Only Blame Himself For Skipping 78% Of The Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearings

DES MOINES – During his tenure on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Bruce Braley skipped 78 percent of the committee hearings, but rather than taking responsibility for his own actions he’s decided to reshuffle his flailing campaign.
As the Des Moines Register reports:

“The Braley campaign experienced a shakeup last month.  Amid concerns about achieving a victory in November, U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley in June cut ties with his pollster, Diane Feldman, and his media consultant, Larry Grisolano, who crafted Braley’s advertisments, sources told The Des Moines Register on Thursday. … Grisolano is an Iowa native and a longtime political pro whose experience managing campaigns here dates to 1994 …”  (Jennifer Jacobs, In Campaign Shake Up, Bruce Braley Dismisses Two Central Players, The Des Moines Register, 07/25/14)

“While Washington liberal Bruce Braley fires his staff for his flailing campaign, he’s the man who skipped 78 percent of his VA Committee hearings and also mocked Iowa farmers for not having a law degree,” said Iowa Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox.  “Braley should know that real leaders take responsibility for their own actions.  Iowa deserves better than Bruce Braley.”  

BACKGROUND …

Bruce Braley Skipped 78 Percent Of His Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearings.  “In fact, we found Braley missed 78 percent of the full hearings in 2011 and 2012.”  (FACT CHECK: Iowa GOP claims Braley missed most of Veterans’ Affairs hearings, The Cedar Rapids Gazette, 07/19/14)

On September 20, 2012 Bruce Braley Skipped A VA Hearing But Was Able To Attended Three Fundraisers.  “Over the past couple days, Republicans have sought to ramp up criticism over Braley’s hearing attendance, seizing on a Sept. 20, 2012, VA committee hearing he missed. It occurred the same day as three campaign fundraisers he attended.  “He made time to attend all three of the fundraisers. But he couldn’t make time to show up at the hearing,” Kochel said.”  (Ed Tibbets, GOP Hits Braley On VA Panel Attendance, The Quad City Times, 07/23/14)

While In Texas, Bruce Braley Mocked Farmers From Iowa For Not Attending Law School.  “Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat running for Senate, was caught on videotape disparaging fellow Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley as ‘a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school’ … The video, posted onlineTuesday afternoon by GOP opposition research firm America Rising, shows Braley speaking to what the group described as a group of lawyers at a fundraiser in Texas.”  (Bruce Braley On Chuck Grassley: A ‘Farmer’ With No Law Degree, Politico, 03/25/14)


Jul 27 2014

100 Days: Here’s What They’re Saying About Iowa

NBC’s Chuck Todd Says Bruce Braley Has Been A Stumbling, Stumbler And A Bumbler.”   “It is.  He has been a stumbling, stumbler and a bumbler and somehow the DSCC is now shaking up the campaign team.”  (Chuck Todd, MSNBC, 07/26/14)

Roll Call’s Stu Rothenberg Says Iowa Is The GOP’s Best Pick Up Opportunity.  ”Stuart Rothenberg said it’s ‘something of a surprise’ that Iowa is now one of the GOP’s best opportunities to pick up a U.S. Senate seat. … But the combination of an interesting Republican nominee in Ernst plus missteps by Braley “has smart Democrats fretting about the contest,” Rothenberg said.”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley Vs. Ernst: 8 Measures Of Who Has Edge In Race, The Des Moines Register, 07/27/14)

The Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy Says Bruce Braley Hasn’t Run A Flawless Campaign.  ”Duffy, of the Cook Report, said Braley hasn’t run a flawless campaign. ‘From insulting Sen. Grassley to failing to show up at committee and subcommittee hearings, he has handed Republicans a lot to work with,’ she told the Register.”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley Vs. Ernst: 8 Measures Of Who Has Edge In Race,The Des Moines Register, 07.27.14)

Bruce Braley Is Giving National Democrats Heartburn.  ”Rep. Bruce Braley’s (D-Iowa) missteps have given Democrats severe heartburn in that open seat race … Braley damaged himself with comments that as a trial lawyer he’s more qualified than popular Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school,” to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) has run a strong race so far, and Democrats admit Braley’s lackluster campaign is cause for alarm.  “Braley has shot himself in the foot again and again. We have a lot of work to do. Iowa is a lot closer than we want it to be,” said one national Democrat.”  (Cam Joseph, 100 Days To Go, The Hill,07/27/14)

Democrat Bruce Braley Has Coughed Up A Double-Digit Lead And Is Now Trailing Joni Ernst.  ”Pre-primary polls consistently showed Democrat Bruce Braley out front, a couple of times by double digits.  Now the gap has closed. Want a polling average other than Huffington Post? Try Real Clear Politics, which also shows a whisker-thin margin. It puts Republican Joni Ernst up 0.7 percent.”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley Vs. Ernst: 8 Measures Of Who Has Edge In Race, The Des Moines Register, 07/27/14)

Bruce Braley Is In Deep Trouble In Iowa.  ”Ernst campaign adviser David Polyansky said she is a strong leader for Iowa, with service as a lieutenant colonel and combat commander as well as three years in the Iowa Senate.  ’The race is about Joni’s Iowa leadership versus liberal Bruce Braley’s Washington failures,’ Polyansky said. ‘Bruce Braley is a rubber stamp for Barack Obama with a special trial lawyer’s skill at insulting Iowa farmers. That’s why he’s in such deep trouble.’”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Braley vs. Ernst: ‘Races just don’t get closer than this’, The Des Moines Register, 07/27/14)


Jul 26 2014

Another Bad Week For Bruce Braley

Between skipping 78 percent of his Veterans’ Affairs hearings, Larry Sabato moving Iowa’s Senate race from leans Democrat to toss-up and a staff shakeup within his campaign, it’s clear Bruce Braley had another no good, very bad, awful week.

On Monday, the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reported that over the weekend Texas Governor Rick Perry told Bruce Braley not to mock farmers.  Perry showed he had done his homework on Iowa politics. At one point in his talk he walked over to a banner promoting Sen. Charles Grassley and wrote the word “farmer” above Grassley’s name — a barb aimed at Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley who was captured on tape referring to Grassley as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.”  Braley, running against Republican Joni Ernst for the Senate seat, later apologized for the comment.  “Don’t diss my farmers,” said Perry, again drawing huge applause.

The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reported that Republican strategist Dave Kochel said that Bruce Braley has underperformed.   The Iowa U.S. Senate race may go down to the wire, according to political consultants to candidates in top Iowa races who both predicted their party’s candidate would be victorious. … Braley, Kochel added, has “really underperformed” as a candidate – a reference to comments the four-term Democrat made about Sen. Chuck Grassley.

Fox News also reported that the Iowa GOP hammered Bruce Braley for skipping 78 percent of his Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings.  Now it’s Braley’s attendance record that is under scrutiny as Republicans hammer him for missing more than two thirds of the hearings of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee on which he serves. The Cedar Rapids Gazette checked the claim and found that while Braley had a better attendance rate for subcommittee hearings, the charge was fairly rendered.

On Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported that Bruce Braley had the second-lowest attendance record on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  This also gives him the second-lowest attendance record for the committee, according to a Washington Examiner analysis of committee minutes.  Only Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., had a worse attendance record (at 16 percent). The average attendance rate for the committee was 60 percent, and just 15 of the 24 members had attendance rates above 50 percent.

Then the Des Moines Register broke the story that on September 20, 2012, Bruce Braley missed a critical VA hearing but was able to attend three fundraisers in Washington.  On the same day [that he missed the VA hearing], Braley had three fundraisers on his schedule for his re-election to the U.S. House, records from the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation show. He attended all three, campaign aides confirmed to The Des Moines Register.

Things quickly spiraled out of control when Braley’s campaign said he skipped the VA hearing for another hearing, except Braley was never actually seen at the other hearing.  As the Des Moines Register reports:  At 10:19 a.m. on Sept. 20, 2012, the committee held a hearing on a backlog of disability claims and reports of problems with mental health care and stewardship of VA funding, congressional records show. The roll call shows Braley didn’t attend.  Braley’s aides said he skipped it to attend a 9:36 a.m. Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting on the “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking scandal. The congressional record marked Braley “present,” but reveals that he offered no testimony during the three-hour hearing, which ran until 12:45 p.m.  Video caught no sight of Braley. His seat isn’t always visible, but the multiple times it’s within camera view during the window the Veterans Affairs committee was in session (10:19 a.m. to 11:54 a.m.), Braley wasn’t seated, a Register review of C-SPAN 3 and committee footage found.   

On Wednesday, the Republican Party of Iowa sent out a devastating release that thoroughlydiscredited Braley’s excuse for skipping the VA hearing.  Bruce Braley claimed to miss the House Veterans’ Affairs hearing for a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing, but after reviewing the transcript and the footage, there were no signs of him being present.

The Quad City Times reported that Braley skipped 15 of 20 Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings. “Democratic Senate hopeful Bruce Braley is being criticized for missing most of the full Veterans Affairs Committee hearings held in 2011-12, when he was on the panel.  Braley, a Democratic congressman from Waterloo, missed 15 of 20 committee meetings, including two joint sessions with the Senate, and Republicans say this shows he puts little priority on veterans issues.”

The Hill reported that Braley’s poor attendance on the VA Committee could hurt him on the campaign trail.  Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) is under fire for missing a number of hearings of the committee that oversees the Veterans Administration. … The low attendance for a committee overseeing the VA, which has been embroiled in scandal, could hurt Braley on the campaign trail.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that Republicans are reminding Iowans that Braley neglected early warning signs of problems within the VA.  “Republicans have charged Braley with neglecting early warnings about problems that reportedly plague VA centers across the country. Reports of VA staffers who falsely altered patient records to mask long wait times for veterans led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki earlier this year.

On Fox News, former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino gave some advice to Bruce Braley by telling him when you’re in a crisis just tell the truth.  In Iowa, Bruce Braley he’s a Congressman, he’s running for the Senate in Iowa.  One of the complaints, attacks from the other side, the Republicans, has been he’s on the House Veterans’ Affair Committee and missed 75% of those hearings, including one in 2012 that was an important one.  You might say that’s not important, who cares, right?  But he was actually — his campaign said he was at a Fast and Furious hearing.  Turns out, he wasn’t there either.  He was at fundraisers, which from a PR perspective just tell the truth, it would be a lot easier than what you’re dealing with.

On Thursday, it was revealed that Larry Sabato’s Center for Politics moved the Iowa Senate race from leans Democrat to toss-up.  The biggest change comes in Iowa, which moves from Leans Democratic to Toss-up. After cruising through her primary, state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) has continued to perform well. Polling averages now show the race to be about an exact tie, and it’s become fairly clear that this open-seat contest represents the Republicans’ best pickup opportunity in a state won by President Obama in 2012.

On FridayKay Henderson at Radio Iowa reported that Concerned Veterans for America is up with an ad blasting Braley for skipping 78 percent of his Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings. Republicans have been criticizing Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley for missing most of the hearings the Veterans Affairs Committee held when Braley was on the panel. Now, a national group is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to air that complaint in ads on Iowa TV stations.

The National Review Online reported that in 2012, Braley said he fights for veterans every day on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  “I fight for veterans every day on the Veterans Affairs Committee,” Representative Bruce Braley (D., Iowa) said at the Iowa Democratic Convention in 2012.  That apparently-innocuous comment might just be the first five seconds of Republican ads tying Braley, who is running for Senate against Republican Joni Ernst,  to the VA scandal, given that Braley failed to show up for three-quarters of the full committee hearings.

The Weekly Standard also reported that Braley falsely claimed that he fights for veterans every day on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  Bruce Braley, the Iowa Democratic congressman running for U.S. Senate, touted his work on behalf of veterans at his state party’s 2012 convention. “I fight for veterans every day on the Veterans’ Affairs committee,” he said. … But it was reported this week that Braley missed 75 percent of the House committee’s hearings in 2011 and 2012, including one day during which he attended three fundraisers. Braley’s campaign has claimed he was attending a separate hearing on the Fast and Furious scandal, though there’s no evidence the Iowa Democrat was active or even present for most of that hearing, either.

The Iowa Republican Party ripped Braley for being able to attend fundraisers, but not the VA hearing in Washington.  As the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reported:  Braley, a Waterloo Democrat running for U.S. Senate, recently has been criticized for absenteeism during his two-year tenure on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.  … “If Bruce Braley made time for his VA hearings, like he’s able to do for his fancy D.C. fundraisers, he would’ve heard firsthand that two-thirds of our veterans have to wait over four months to receive care from the VA,” said RPI spokesman Jahan Wilcox. “Braley’s priorities in Washington are quite simple: he’s more interested in himself than helping our veterans.”

Things are so bad for Bruce Braley’s campaign that Politico reports that he replaced key members of his team.   Iowa Democratic Senate hopeful Bruce Braley has shaken up his campaign … The main source of concern about Braley’s performance has tended to be the candidate himself. … It comes after a string of bad headlines for Braley, including one about his wife getting into a legal dustup with a neighbor over chickens invading her yard.

TWEETS …

@DToddHarris:  Braley: “I fight for veterans every day on the Veterans Affairs Committee.” Really? You skipped 78% of hearings. #iasen

@DDKochel:  Hey @linkiowa someone fact checked your fact check and found it false. Don’t you hate it when that happens? http://www.iowagop.org/why-did-bruce-braley-skip-his-va-hearing-on-september-20-2012/ 

@DavidPolyansky:  RT @JenniferJJacobs: #iasen race no longer leans Dem- @BruceBraley & @JoniErnst battle is a “toss-up,” @LarrySabato & @kkondik say

@DCGretchen:  RT @emilyrs:Latest bad headline 4 Bruce Braley in #IASEN missed VA hearings on same day he had 3 campaing fundraisers http://goo.gl/juHlfX

@AaronBlakeWP:  Bruce Braley, call your office (again)http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/elections/2014/07/22/bruce-braley-three-fundraisers-on-day-of-missed-hearing/13004385/?sf28880685=%5B%271%27%5D

@MaggiePolitico:  SCOOP: Bruce Braley shook up campaign, replaced AKPD and Diane Feldman with Saul Schorr and Geoff Garin http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/bruce-braley-iowa-campaign-2014-109399.html

@JMartNYT:  ”The main source of concern about Braley’s performance has tended to be the candidate himself” http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/bruce-braley-iowa-campaign-2014-109399.html

@Brook_H:  Dems in Panic Mode: Struggling Bruce Braley shakes up campaignhttp://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/bruce-braley-iowa-campaign-2014-109399.html 

@AmericaRising: .@BruceBraley Didn’t Just Miss His VA Hearing – He Lied About It Too http://bit.ly/1qzSuvQ