REALITY CHECK: Attack against McConnell is misleading

REALITY CHECK: Attack against McConnell ruled misleading
Published: Oct. 28, 2014 at 1:27 AM EDT|Updated: Dec. 12, 2014 at 2:51 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign called a new attack against him "absurd," while defending its own TV advertisement that features a woman registered to vote in Pennsylvania.

The Senate Majority PAC, a third-party group, has aired multiple advertisements this year portraying McConnell as out-of-touch. The most recent ad alleges that he cares about his own wealth, but not about Kentuckians' retirement.

"2008 – life savings wiped out. But not everyone's," a narrator says, as McConnell's face appears. "Mitch McConnell had 17 private calls with the Treasury secretary, then re-arranged his portfolio – an unfair advantage."

The ad -- which the group didn't publish on its YouTube channel -- is misleading, Reality Check found.

The advertisement, part of a wave of outside spending in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race that has reached into the tens of millions of dollars, cites a 2012 Washington Post article.

That summer, the Post revealed that 34 members of Congress – a group that included McConnell and other Republicans, plus Democrats – made moves with their own financial accounts after having conversations with top-ranking U.S. economic officials.

McConnell had dozens of phone calls with then-U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in 2008 as the two worked on economic stimulus legislation, according to the newspaper.

McConnell reported in financial disclosure forms that he had made financial transactions around the time of the phone calls, the Post reported.

But the Post's story found no wrongdoing, instead reporting that McConnell doesn't invest in individual stocks to avoid conflicts of interest and uses an investment adviser to handle his finances.

McConnell's financial adviser said it was Merrill Lynch, not McConnell, who recommended the moves, the Post reported.

Allison Moore, a McConnell spokeswoman, confirmed the accuracy of the newspaper's reporting and called the Senate Majority PAC's ad "absurdly inaccurate."

"Kentuckians deserve much better than the complete disregard for fact or decency that has been displayed by Alison Lundergan Grimes and her allies," said Josh Holmes, McConnell's senior adviser, in a statement.

By law, the Senate Majority PAC is independent of the Grimes campaign.

The back-and-forth comes during a wave of new TV advertisements in the U.S. Senate race.

McConnell last week began airing an advertisement to fight back against criticism that he's against women, but one of the people in the ad is registered to vote out of state.

The ad features four women who say Grimes doesn't represent the values. One of the women, Dallas Knierman, is registered to vote in Pennsylvania, news reports indicated.

The McConnell campaign said Knierman is a University of Louisville student and a Louisville resident, but she hadn't updated her voter registration yet.

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