Fact check: The newest Connolly attack
The newest attack ad against Republican Keith Fimian over the home inspection company he co-founded could use some inspection itself.
The company, U.S. Inspect, is once again being turned into a campaign weapon by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as the 11th Congressional District race enters its final week. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) already cited a $16,000 federal tax lien against the company during his 2008 race against Fimian; now, it's part of a new ad launched by the DCCC on Connolly's behalf.
The problem is, U.S. Inspect is a successful business. It has an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau. It holds dozens of patent claims. And the lien, while undoubtedly embarrassing to Fimian, has since been released.
It's easy to debunk some of the other claims in the new ad -- such as an accusation that U.S. Inspect's corporate status was revoked by the Arkansas secretary of state. I'm not sure where the DCCC got that information, because a quick call to the Arkansas office revealed that the company withdrew its status back in 2003 -- voluntarily.
And while the ad is correct that Fimian signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge authored by Americans for Tax Reform, the pledge doesn't mention anything about corporations outsourcing jobs, as the ad suggests. In fact, it just says the signer agrees to oppose raising marginal income tax rates and reducing or eliminating deductions or credits.
Given how much it's stretching things there, the DCCC might just as well have claimed that Fimian signed a pledge supporting corporations that exploit workers in developing countries.
Whether or not other of the ad's claims regarding lawsuits and liens carry water, there is some truth slipped in: Fimian's former business partner did call his honesty into question and wrote that his campaign is "built upon a fraud."
Still, I wonder just how far bad feeling over an apparent business falling-out is going to get Connolly and the DCCC.
Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
Paige Winfield Cunningham
| October 26, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories: Va. Politics, Virginia
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