REALITY CHECK: McConnell's votes called into question, again

REALITY CHECK: McConnell's votes called into question, again
Published: Sep. 23, 2014 at 2:44 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 7, 2014 at 4:12 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Alison Lundergan Grimes' latest TV advertisement suggests Sen. Mitch McConnell shows up at fundraisers and appears on cable news shows instead of voting.

The claims are part of Grimes' ongoing attempt to portray McConnell as out-of-touch with Kentucky, while the senator ties Grimes with an unpopular President Barack Obama.

“He didn't show up to vote on troop funding, the farm bill, and (Veterans Affairs) on days he found the time for a lobbyist fundraiser and was on two TV shows,”


The claim is misleading, Reality Check found.

Committee records list McConnell as voting “yes” on all three pieces of legislation cited in the Grimes advertisement, which included committee votes from


and 2013.

Asked for clarification, Charly Norton, a Grimes campaign spokeswoman, said McConnell sent an aide to cast his vote and didn't attend discussions on the bills.

McConnell has said party leaders can have more influence by devoting time to other issues instead of committee hearings. He said at the Kentucky Farm Bureau forum Aug. 20 that he wouldn't resign his committee positions because he would then lose the ability to vote by “proxy,” or the practice of sending an aide to cast his vote.

McConnell's “yes” votes came on bills that involved agriculture and funding for the military, homeland security and veterans' issues.

The Grimes advertisement also attacks McConnell for not attending a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing in 2012.

“He skipped a meeting on rural jobs but toasted the Chinese vice president for China's ‘great achievements,'” the Grimes narrator says.

Congressional records indicate McConnell

the hearing on rural jobs, but it's not clear whether the event with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping was happening at the same time.

The Grimes' campaign cites the

as its source that McConnell had praised China's “great achievements.”

The Grimes advertisement ends by criticizing McConnell for creating gridlock in the U.S. Senate, as a graphic claims the Senate minority leader has blocked action 114 times from 2007 to 2013.

Reality Check gives this a rating of “True, but.”

Grimes may be accurate that Congress often appears dysfunctional, but she hasn't always told the same story about this issue.

In a 2013 ad that showed a burning house, the Grimes campaign claimed McConnell “blocked the Senate over 400 times” during the same period, 2007 to 2013.

Multiple fact-checkers

and, one year later, Grimes is now using the 114 times figure that the fact-checkers said was more accurate.

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