Two new TV ads are out this week in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Pat Toomey and his Democratic challenger, Katie McGinty. The race could help determine control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 8 election. Here is a look at the two ads, both of which focus on Toomey.
THEME: A Washington, D.C.-based political action committee, End Citizens United, is airing an ad critical of Toomey.
LENGTH: 30 seconds
AIRING: In the Pittsburgh, Harrisburg-Lancaster and Wilkes Barre markets; it began Monday.
KEY CLAIM: “In Washington, Senator Toomey makes choices. Like fund education. Or tax breaks for the super-rich and corporations. Hint: millionaire Toomey chose the tax breaks. Same agenda as the billionaire Koch brothers. And Toomey has repeatedly voted to block reforms requiring groups funded by billionaires like the Koch brothers to disclose where their money comes from. Secret money they spend electing senators like Pat Toomey.”
ANALYSIS: The ad maker cites a slew of votes Toomey made.
The “fund education” vote cited by the ad was on legislation proposed last year by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., to fund “high-quality” pre-kindergarten to children of all low- and moderate-income families and impose an additional 30 percent tax on annual income over $1 million. Toomey helped defeat it in a party-line vote. Toomey’s campaign pointed to votes he has made in support of federal education aid.
Another Toomey vote cited helped defeat legislation in a near party-line vote in 2012 that would have let tax rates rise, as scheduled, on individuals making more than $200,000. Toomey ultimately did vote to let tax rates rise on individuals making more than $400,000.
Another Toomey vote, in 2012, helped defeat a bill — along with four Democratic senators — to end billions of dollars in tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry.
In terms of the “Koch brothers,” the ad cites Toomey’s 96 percent lifetime rating by the group, Americans for Prosperity, the flagship conservative political organization of the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. Americans for Prosperity does not disclose its donors.
In a party-line vote, Toomey in 2012 helped defeat Democrats’ legislation aimed at requiring more disclosure by groups like Americans for Prosperity. In this year alone, groups that keep donors a secret have reported spending more than $7 million to aid Toomey. Such groups have spent more than $4 million to aid McGinty.
THEME: The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization, One Nation, is airing an ad that supports Toomey legislation.
TITLE: “Officer Down”
LENGTH: 30 seconds
AIRING: In Philadelphia; it began Monday.
KEY CLAIM: “Facing well-armed terrorists and shooters, our police need Kevlar and armored vehicles to keep us safe. But a new government rule makes it harder for police to get access to life-saving equipment. Sen. Pat Toomey is fighting to change that. Toomey’s bill will help get law enforcement the equipment they need.”
ANALYSIS: This ad refers to legislation Toomey unveiled earlier this year nicknamed the “Lifesaving Gear for Police Act” and aimed at nullifying President Barack Obama’s order ending long-running federal transfers of some military combat-style surplus gear to local law enforcement agencies.
It took effect in May 2015, spurred by clashes between police and protesters during riots in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri. The order ended the transfer of grenade launchers, bayonets and tracked armored vehicles to state and local police agencies from a Department of Defense program known as the “1033 program” that provides surplus equipment for free.
Police agencies can still get such equipment; they just cannot use federal money to buy it or get it from the federal government.
It also made federal transfers of certain other vehicles, such as armored vehicles with wheels, rifles and riot gear — batons, helmets and shields — subject to tighter standards. Among other things, law enforcement agencies are now required to submit a written justification outlining their need for the equipment and to get approval from a civilian governing body.
Police forces in Pennsylvania have since returned 87 bayonet-like knives and five tracked armored vehicles, according to the Defense Logistics Agency.
This is One Nation’s fourth TV ad buy that supports a Toomey bill. It does not disclose its donors.