Richard Carlbom: 651-261-1306
Paulsen’s Lies Not Limited to TV: Debunked Claims Hit Mailboxes, Too
A dark secret: Paulsen and his special-interest patrons are waging a disinformation campaign in MN03 mailboxes
Congressman Erik Paulsen’s coordinated negative television campaign has earned him unprecedented scrutiny from local fact-checkers, but another tactic has earned him less scrutiny, with dozens of special interest-funded mailers containing the same objectively false claims landing in mailboxes across the Third District.
“Voters in Minnesota’s Third District have been subjected to a barrage of objectively false claims on TV and in their mailboxes thanks to Erik Paulsen and his special-interest funders,” said Zach Rodvold, campaign manager for Phillips for Congress. “The pieces are too numerous to track, and have no regard for fact or truth — oftentimes coming from dark-money groups that operate with no transparency. Congressman Paulsen and his special-interest patrons have shown an unrelenting commitment to buying this election and embracing Donald Trump’s propensity for lies and personal slander on the campaign trail, as much as they have his policies in Washington.”
Congressman Paulsen has raised over $2.7 million from PACs — the fourth-most of anyone in Congress — and used the money to run an unprecedentedly negative campaign that has been called inappropriate, reckless, false, distorted, not even in the same time zone as truth, extremely misleading, just plain false, and wildly out of context by independent journalists, community leaders, sexual-harassment victims, and Democrats, independents, and Republicans alike. While the TV ads have been the subject of scrutiny by independent fact-checkers, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of deceptive direct mail has gone unnoticed.
Here are just some of the outrageous claims being delivered to mailboxes across the district:
AMERICA ACTION NETWORK: Thanks to Erik Paulsen, the opioid epidemic is over.
Truth: In 2017 alone, 162 people died from opioid-related causes in Hennepin County. Erik Paulsen is one of the only members of Congress who still accepts campaign contributions from Purdue Pharma, the controversial maker of Oxycontin that was sued by the state of Minnesota. All told, Paulsen has taken $214,000 from Big Pharma and $234, 500 from insurance companies in this election cycle alone. Paulsen has repeatedly voted for expanding programs for opioid treatment while blocking funding for those same programs (HR 6 June 2018, HR 5797 June 2018). He also blocked the consideration of an amendment that would have prohibited restrictions on medical-malpractice lawsuits for the “grossly negligent” prescription of opioids (HR 1215 June 2017). American Action Network itself is a conservative dark-money group that takes millions of dollars from big pharmaceutical interests.
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF MINNESOTA: Dean Phillips doesn’t believe women and is personally responsible for sexual harassment and cover-up schemes.
Truth: This is the most outrageous lie about Dean Phillips that is being perpetrated by Congressman Paulsen and his special-interest friends. City Pages, KSTP, Kare 11, community leaders, Allina Health, the attorney for the victims, and the women themselves have all decried this accusation as false. Two weeks ago, the women contacted Congressman Paulsen to ask that he apologize and stop using their trauma for political gain; to date, his campaign has not responded and continues to run ads, send mail, and poll on this demonstrably false claim.
AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY (KOCH BROS): Dean Phillips supports a government takeover of healthcare that would double taxes for every individual and business.
Truth: This is an outright lie. Dean Phillips advocates for expanding Medicare as a buy-in option for every American. He also supports reforming the care-delivery system to reward preventive care to lower healthcare costs, and requiring Medicare to negotiate lower prescription-drug costs.
REPUBLICAN PARTY OF MINNESOTA (ironically): Erik Paulsen is a different kind of Republican. He’s an effective, bipartisan champion for gun safety.
Truth: Erik Paulsen has been endorsed by President Trump, with whom he votes 98% of the time. Paulsen is also tied as the second-least-likely member of Congress to get a bill passed out of Committee. And far from being a champion for gun safety, Paulsen has accepted more than $21,000 from the NRA, which recently upgraded his rating from an A- to an A and endorsed him in his bid for re-election. That’s because Paulsen supports the NRA’s agenda in Congress, including opposing universal background checks despite overwhelming public support, and voting 21 times to block measures that would keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists, along with voting to allow domestic abusers to keep their guns.
ALLIANCE FOR PATIENT ACCESS: Erik Paulsen is a “Champion for Medicare Access” award winner and fights to preserve and improve Medicare.
Truth: This is a marketing ploy, not a real award. As MinnPost reported earlier this year, the Alliance for Patient Access is a dark-money special-interest group with close links to the pharmaceutical industry. Just last week, GOP leadership, with whom Congressman Paulsen votes 98% of the time, confessed that they plan to cut earned benefit programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare to pay for their deficit-ballooning tax bill. Congressman Paulsen himself has taken $214,000 from Big Pharma and $234, 500 from insurance companies in this election cycle alone. And Paulsen voted for the AHCA, which would have allowed insurance companies to charge older Minnesotans five times more — all while allowing Medicare Cost plans to disappear, forcing tens of thousands of older Minnesotans off of their plans.