Tags: grimes | mcconnell | coal | pinocchio | kessler

Grimes Doubles Down on McConnell Coal Claim, Earns 4 More WaPo Pinocchios

By    |   Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 10:24 PM

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler is doubling down on his criticism of Democratic Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes after she doubled down on claims that Kessler already had called her out on.

Kessler gave Grimes four "Pinocchios" earlier this month for her claims that Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, had taken $600,000 in payoffs from the "enemies of coal."

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Those are fighting words in Kentucky, where coal mining is a major industry.

In her new ad, Grimes stands in front of the Big Sandy power plant in Louisa, Kentucky.

"They are shutting down half the plant and laying off their workers because Mitch McConnell didn’t fight to get the scrubbers it needs to reduce coal emissions," Grimes says to the camera. "Instead, Mitch and his wife pocketed $600,000 from enemies of coal, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg."

Kessler points out again that the only way Grimes can tie Grimes to any money – or to Bloomberg – is through Chao, who sits on a board of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has donated to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative, which wants to shut down one-third of dirty coal plants by 2020.

Chao joined that board in 2012, after the initiative was announced, and she is paid only $9,400 for her service, Kessler reports. The remainder of the $600,000 claimed in the ad comes from her work on the board of directors of Wells Fargo bank.

Wells Fargo has cut the amount of money it lends to "mountain top removal" coal mining operations, but still supports other forms of coal mining.

Again, that policy was adopted in 2006, before Chao joined the board.

"Finally, what did McConnell have to do with of any of this? Nothing," Kessler wrote.

As for those scrubbers that Grimes claims McConnell refused to help the plant get: There was nothing any public official could do to help a private industry get equipment for its operations. The company itself said it decided to shut down the plant because trying to make the changes, as required by the administration of President Barack Obama, would have raised local utility rates 31 percent.

Grimes points out that McConnell voted against a bill to fund clean coal technology, which she claims would have help cut the cost of the scrubbers, but Kessler points out that the funding passed anyway, and besides, the company shut down the plant not because of the cost of the scrubbers, but because using them would have raised electric rates.

Further, Grimes has said she opposes the bill McConnnell voted against.

"Most striking, Grimes puts her own credibility on the line by uttering these recidivist claims herself, rather than relying on an unseen narrator," Kessler wrote.

The ad is not on Grimes' website with her other ads, Kessler notes. That, he said, is a move aimed at not getting the notice of the media while still reaching into voters' homes.

"We realize that the game of politics is sometimes played rough in Kentucky, but this ad is beyond the pale," Kessler concluded. "Indeed, it is likely the worst ad of a nasty campaign year. Grimes should be ashamed of herself."

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Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler is doubling down on his criticism of Democratic Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes after she doubled down on claims that Kessler already had called her out on.
grimes, mcconnell, coal, pinocchio, kessler
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2014-24-23
Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 10:24 PM
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