Fact Check: CLF and Erik Paulsen Attack Ads Don’t Measure Up

Richard Carlbom: 651-261-1306

In Coordinated Attack, Erik Paulsen and His Special-Interest Friends Go Negative
“These absurd attacks represent exactly what’s wrong with Washington — and Erik Paulsen”

In a seemingly coordinated effort, Erik Paulsen and the Congressional Leadership Fund, Paul Ryan’s special-interest-funded super PAC, today launched misleading attacks on small-business owner Dean Phillips over healthcare and taxes — proving they’ll say, spend and do anything to re-elect Erik Paulsen.

Zach Rodvold, campaign manager for Dean Phillips for Congress, released the following statement in response:

These absurd attacks represent exactly what’s wrong with Washington — and with Erik Paulsen.

Dean Phillips is a small-business owner who offers healthcare coverage to his full-time employees, and whose family has created thousands of good-paying jobs with benefits, shared success with those who helped create it, and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Minnesota communities over five generations.

Erik Paulsen is a career politician who has never started or managed a business of any size, and is the 6th-biggest taker of special-interest money in the entire U.S. Congress. Now, those same special interests are spending millions on misleading attack ads to protect a reliable vote for them in Congress, and distract from Congressman Paulsen’s record of increasing healthcare costs and jeopardizing coverage for millions of Americans:

  • Paulsen joined House Republicans in voting more than 70 times to undermine or fully repeal the Affordable Care Act, jeopardizing healthcare coverage, increasing premiums and stripping protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

  • Paulsen voted to impose an Age Tax on Minnesota seniors by making them pay up to five times more for their care.

  • Paulsen has voted for deep cuts to Medicare, and he refuses to allow it to negotiate prescription drugs prices, protecting drug company profits at the expense of Minnesota’s seniors.

  • According to OpenSecrets.org, Paulsen has taken $1,264,378 from the insurance industry and $1,144,379 from the pharmaceutical and health-products industry — including nearly $400,000 from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

To attack Dean Phillips over an $89 late fee on a property-tax bill for an ice cream plant and for advocating for congressional action to ensure every small business and every American can afford healthcare — and to do it in a coordinated way with an outside special-interest group — is stunning, unethical and quite possibly illegal, and it is the perfect example of what’s wrong with politics today.

Here are the facts:

  • Dean Phillips provides healthcare to all full-time employees at Penny’s Coffee, even though — like most small businesses — they struggle to afford it. See here and here for more information.
  • Dean has always paid his taxes in full and on time. Talenti Gelato paid a grand total of $89 in interest in 2012/2013 relative to a property-tax payment for one of its ice cream plants.

  • In April of this year, Dean challenged Erik Paulsen to eliminate all PAC funding, including from outside special-interest groups, as well as self-funding in an effort to return to The Minnesota Way of running campaigns. Paulsen rejected it, calling it a “gimmick” despite having publicly supported each of its components in the past.

  • The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) is a special-interest super PAC controlled by Paul Ryan that will spend at least $3 million dollars on negative television advertising in Minnesota’s 3rd District this election cycle.

Scroll to Top