Anti-Cotton ad rates ‘4 Pinocchios’ for false claims


WASHINGTON — A television ad attacking Senate Republican candidate Tom Cotton over his links to the Insurance industry is “as phony as a three-dollar bill,” according to fact checkers at the Washington Post.

The newspaper debunked claims in the ad by Senate Majority PAC that claimed that the Cotton had served as a consultant to insurance companies while working at McKinsey & Co. before running for Congress in 2012 and also took issue with claims that he supported ending the traditional fee-for-service Medicare plan for current enrollees.

The 30-second ad is running on broadcast and cable in Arkansas as part of a five-state, multi-million dollar campaign organized by the Senate Majority PAC. In a news release, the PAC said it was attempting to connect the dots between Cotton’s “lucrative” business ties and his support for Medicare changes that would steer billions in profits to insurance companies at the expense of Arkansas seniors.

Cotton, a freshman representative from Dardanelle, is challenging incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat. The ad can be viewed on the Internet at http://youtu.be/Ea0-Sx8iEus

The Senate Majority PAC pointed to Cotton’s own resume as evidence that he was working for the insurance industry before joining Congress. A description of his work experience following his military service notes his job as a management consultant for McKinsey & Co. and that his industry experience included “agribusiness, health care, oil and gas, food processing, insurance and aerospace.”

Cotton’s campaign provided a statement from his “team leader” at McKinsey & Co., who said that Cotton had no “insurance industry experience” other than working on a project for the Federal Housing Authority.

The Washington Post said that Democrats were also falsely claiming that Cotton supported a budget plan — proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. — that would turn Medicare into a voucher program.

The plan that Cotton supported in 2012 included an option for current enrollees to remain in the fee-for-service program. Moreover, the fact checkers said it was a major stretch to say insurance companies would receive billions in profits at the expense of elderly.

As a result, the Washington Post rated the advertisement “4 Pinocchios” saying none of the allegations made about Cotton or his policies are factually correct.

Ty Matsdorf, a spokesman for Senate Majority PAC, said they plan to continue running the ad campaign saying Cotton has stood by the Ryan budget plan and his own biography lists working for the insurance industry.

“Until he provides a comprehensive list of all his clients, we are going to take his campaign biography at its word. Additionally, in regards to charging seniors more for Medicare, unless he renounces his support for Congressman Ryan’s plan, we will take him at his word when he publicly endorsed it,” Matsdorf said.