Friday, October 31st, 2014

Is ad blowing smoke about Blunt's help for Phillip Morris?

Commonsense Ten Missouri campaign ad "Secret" attacking Roy Blunt.

An independent group called Commonsense Ten, has begun airing attack ads in several key Senate races including Missouri, where they have come after Rep. Roy Blunt with a potent cocktail, accusing Blunt of trying to push through some pro-tobacco legislation while dating a Philip Morris lobbyist and cashing campaign checks from Philip Morris executives. The group behind the ad is led by several Democratic strategists.

According to the conspiratorial-sounding voice-over in the ad:

"A critical national security bill is up for a vote. Just hours before, Roy Blunt secretly inserts language to benefit tobacco giant Philip Morris. Blunt's girlfriend and son are lobbyists for the cigarette company, and just days earlier, 26 Philip Morris executives wrote checks to Blunt totaling $23,000."

Back in November 2002, Republican Blunt was dating Abigail Perlman, who was at that time a lobbyist for Philip Morris (and whom Blunt would later marry). Blunt's son, Andrew, was a lobbyist for Philip Morris in Missouri (not a federal lobbyist). And records show that Blunt got the donations cited in the ad from Philip Morris executives.

But the real question is whether Blunt tried to "secretly insert" a provision into a 2002 bill to create a Department of Homeland Security and whether the provision was intended to benefit Philip Morris or to curb contraband sales of cigarettes used to fund terrorism.

We looked into the counter-claims about the provision and concluded the ad's claims are Mostly True.