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Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman October 3, 2012

Lois Frankel says Adam Hasner promised "I'll never accept a pay increase,” but he “voted to raise his pay four times."

Democrat Lois Frankel bashed her Republican congressional opponent Adam Hasner and portrayed him as a hypocrite in a recent attack ad.

In the ad, Hasner says, "I'll never accept a pay increase." A narrator then notes, "But Hasner voted to raise his pay four times." In this fact-check, we will evaluate the ad's claim.

We previously fact-checked a claim in an ad by the YG Action Fund, a conservative PAC, that Frankel "took a 40 percent pay raise" as mayor while West Palm Beach "lost jobs." We ruled that claim Half True -- she did get a 40 percent raise, but the ad misrepresented the employment picture.

Hasner said he’ll reject a pay increase

In Frankel’s ad, Hasner said, "I’ll never accept a pay increase." It’s not evident in the ad when he said that.

The answer is that Hasner has repeatedly said it while running for Congress -- a federal job that currently pays $174,000 a year job.

But Hasner’s pay raise votes relate to his former job in the state House, where he served from 2003 to 2010. In the state House, Hasner earned between $29,328 and $31,932 a year.

When state workers get raises, legislators get automatic salary adjustments in July of the following year unless they pass a bill to prevent the raise. Both situations occurred during Hasner’s tenure: He got raises some years, and other years members prevented the raises or even took a cut as a symbolic gesture to voters amid an economic downturn.

Frankel points to votes for pay raises Hasner took in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2010.

All four votes were appropriations bills that legislators must pass to pay for state workers’ salaries and expenses to keep government functioning -- they were not stand-alone votes on pay raises. We confirmed these votes, and found that the appropriations bills passed the House with wide margins.

We agree with the first three votes cited by Frankel -- Hasner voted in favor of appropriations bills in 2003, 2005 and 2006 that led to salary raises between 2 and 3.6 percent for legislators.

But the fourth vote -- the one in 2010 -- comes with a major caveat: lawmakers accidentally gave themselves a pay raise when they meant to take a pay cut, blaming it on a "drafting error," according to the Florida Times-Union. The article stated that Hasner, the majority leader, promised to fix the bill in negotiations with the Senate. Ultimately their salaries remained the same as the previous year: $29,697

Legislators voted for pay cuts in 2008 and 2009 that took effect that same year. Hasner also had a few years where his salary remained flat.

Hasner claimed credit for the pay cut in 2008. The Sun-Sentinel wrote that the pay cut was proposed by state Rep. Ron Saunders, D-Key West, in a meeting and then by state Rep. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, on the House floor. Hasner, the House majority leader, told the Sentinel that he worked behind the scenes to get the pay cut:

"Just because Juan Zapata was the name behind the amendment doesn't mean I wasn't a catalyst behind the idea. Leadership is more than just putting your name on something."

Hasner gave PolitiFact a similar account: "You don’t put your name on every amendment when you are majority leader. ... I led the effort to cut my pay in the state Legislature when things got tough." (He reiterated that he led the pay cut effort in a September speech.)

Featured Fact-check

Overall, Hasner entered the House in 2003 making $29,328. His pay peaked in 2007 at $31,932. He left the House in 2010 making $29,697.

Our ruling

Frankel’s ad says Hasner said "I'll never accept a pay increase," but he "voted to raise his pay four times." We have several criticisms of this claim.

For starters, Frankel didn’t make it clear that Hasner said he would never accept a pay increase if elected to Congress -- it's possible to view the ad and falsely think he said that while accepting pay raises in the state House. There is a significant difference between saying that he would freeze his own congressional pay at around $174,000 and voting for overall budget bills that included measly pay raises in the state House that took his pay from $29,328 to $31,932 (and then back down again).

Also, Frankel omits that Hasner’s pay was frozen or cut for a few of his years in the House. And for one of those votes he did vote for a pay raise, but then House members said that was an accident, and they ultimately didn’t get a raise. Yes, Frankel says that he "voted" for the pay raises -- not that he "received" them. Right away Hasner said that was a mistake and would be fixed, and it was.

There is a small kernel of truth here: Hasner did vote for three overall budgets that allowed himself to get a small pay raise.

We rate this claim Mostly False.

Our Sources

Lois Frankel campaign, TV ad "Real,"  Sept. 19,  2012

YouTube, Adam Hasner campaign ad "Start", Sept. 17, 2012

Adam Hasner campaign website, Lead by example, Accessed Oct. 1,  2012

Adam Hasner campaign website, Fact-checking Lois Frankel’s new attack ad ‘Real,’Sept. 23, 2012

PolitiFact,"Super PAC attacks Lois Frankel over pay raise, jobs record,"Sept. 28, 2012

PolitiFact,"Mitt Romney would cut millionaires taxes, Barack Obama says,"Aug. 3, 2012

PolitiFact, "Barack Obama  ad says Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plan could raise costs for Medicare beneficiaries by $6,000 each ," Aug. 23, 2012

PolitiFact, "Chain e-mail says Congress raised own salaries while acting to kill Social Security benefit hikes,"Jan. 22, 2010

Florida House administration,  Florida Legislature member salaries, 1969-2012

Florida statutes, 11.13 compensation of members, Accessed Oct. 1, 2012

Florida House, Senate Bill 4A House vote, May 27, 2003

Florida House, Senate Bill 2600 and House vote, May  6, 2005

Florida House, House Bill 5001and House vote, May 5, 2006

Florida House, House Bill 5003 and House vote, April 10,  2008

Florida House, House Bill 5001and House vote, April 1, 2010

Tampa Bay Times, "Lawmakers don’t merit raise now, says one," Accessed in Nexis, June 7, 2003

Tallahassee Democrat, "Legislature approves budget; several other bills pass as session ends," Accessed in Nexis, May 7, 2005

South  Florida Sun-Sentinel, "Hasner airs first TV ad, claiming credit for legislator pay cut,"Aug. 25, 2008

Florida Times-Union, "House OKs budget on party-line vote," Accessed in Nexis, April 2, 2010

Pensacola News-Journal, "State workers spared pay cuts," Accessed in Nexis, April 27, 2010

Miami Herald’s Naked Politics blog,"Hasner and Frankel disagree on Ryan plan,"Sept. 24,  2012

Interview, Ryan Duffy, spokesman for the Florida House Leadership, Sept. 28, 2012

Interview, Joshua Karp, spokesman for Lois Frankel’s campaign, Sept. 28, 2012

Interview, Brad Herold, campaign manager for Adam Hasner, Sept. 28, 2012

Interview, Adam  Hasner,  Congressional  candidate, Oct. 1, 2012

Interview, Steve Dutton, Committee on House Administration, Oct. 1, 2012

Interview, Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, Oct. 1,  2012

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Lois Frankel says Adam Hasner promised "I'll never accept a pay increase,” but he “voted to raise his pay four times."

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