Campaign Watchdog: Tax claims about Ben Chandler ‘mostly false’

September 30, 2010 | | Comments 13

MORE: Read previous Campaign Watchdog reports

By John Cheves –

The statement: “Chandler took a pledge to vote against tax increases, but then broke it by voting over and over again to raise your taxes.”

— Americans for Tax Reform, criticizing U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, in a commercial running this week on Lexington television stations

The ruling: Mostly false

The facts: Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington non-profit led by former corporate lobbyist and Republican Party activist Grover Norquist, has booked more than $170,000 worth of air time to attack Chandler, who stands for re-election Nov. 2 against Republican lawyer Andy Barr of Lexington.

In its current ad, the group tells Central Kentuckians that Chandler voted “over and over again to raise your taxes.” It cites five House votes from 2007 and 2008 as evidence.

Voting to raise taxes — as those bills did — violated Chandler’s pledge with the group to not raise taxes on any individuals or businesses. Chandler signed the pledge on Dec. 18, 2003, during his first run for Congress.

But the votes did not “over and over again” raise the taxes of Central Kentuckians, as the ad alleges, unless they were an oil or natural gas company, the U.S. subsidiary of a foreign parent company or made more than $500,000 a year.

Three of the votes targeted oil and natural gas companies that drill on public land, ending some tax breaks or levying new taxes, collecting additional billions of dollars to pay for various federal programs, including the development of new energy sources, farm subsidies and food stamps.

As Chandler cast his votes in 2007, ExxonMobil was reporting a $40 billion annual profit, the largest ever in U.S. corporate history at that time. Since the end of 2007, consumers have paid less for gas — regional prices have fallen from an average of $3.03 per gallon to $2.67 per gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Public records show that Americans for Tax Reform is funded in part by the oil industry, which protested the tax increases.

Other provisions in the bills cited by the ad would close tax loopholes to collect $3.2 billion from the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign parent companies; extend for an additional year an existing unemployment surtax of 0.2 percent on employers; and levy a surtax equal to 0.47 percent of income on individuals making more than $500,000 a year in order to pay for expanded educational benefits for returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans under the G.I. Bill.

The extension of the unemployment surtax would not seem to count as “raising” taxes; it maintained a tax at its current level.

The income surtax did raise taxes on individuals making more than $500,000 a year (or for married couples, $1 million a year). The U.S. Census Bureau reports that less than 2 percent of Kentucky families make even $200,000 a year.

Filed Under: Andy BarrBen ChandlerCampaign WatchdogElectionsFederal GovernmentKY-6th

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  1. Matt says:

    Can we get a fact check on the fact checkers?

    If he pledged “not raise taxes on any individuals or businesse” how is this mostly false?

  2. Matt says:

    Ah, I failed to really get the “your taxes” point. Not the breaking the pledge part. Please ignore me. 🙂

  3. TLWiz says:

    Corporate Lobbyists really want Andy Barr to go to Washington and join with the Mitch crew to make sure that corporations and the rich are allowed to continue to hose working people.

  4. Bill Adkins says:

    Carrying on the Ernest Fletcher tradition, Candy Barr lies about Ben Chandler.

  5. tommyhilfigercaudill says:

    I don’t understand. Who cares what politicians say and can we really expect them to be consistent in deed and word? Why is this a problem?

  6. democrats know best says:

    This shows the problem with using attack ads instead of simply stating your position

  7. Jeff Lewis says:

    We all know Tommy Caudill, he does good research and comments intelligently, even when his interlocutors don’t.

    People are stealing people’s screen names today, trying to blow up the conversation – such as it is, but that’s even worse than the usual right-wing rants in my view.

    The blog operators have been alerted to the problem and are working to correct it. In the meantime, be advised that the only real thing we have here – our names – is under attack from people who don’t want us to communicate.

    No doubt, later today, they will jump up and down somewhere and say they want their freedom back.

  8. GinaL says:

    Something not true coming from Republicans, can you imagine that? I would be more shocked if they told the truth. More crooks in the Republican party than in prison. And the number of liars would astound you.

  9. hailiebug says:

    Those votes were correct and I support Chandler for making them. Norquist does not support taxes period and views government as an enemy. Norquist would reduce the public sector to nothing but national defense and turn it all over to private corporations and individuals. He probably does not reflect decent republicans(oxymoron)but his ilk control the party.

  10. williamjefferson(D) Louisiana says:

    Chandler is a good man. Good for the democratic party. He will win in November and represent the KY democrats well.

  11. georgeDT says:

    What a politician lied? What is this world coming to?

  12. m.c. cameron says:

    please tell me about chandler trip to Galopagos. is he a biologist? what qualifies a congressman for an expensive trip of this nature?

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