Archive for Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sebelius’ PAC under fire for mailer against Sloan

October 30, 2008


Election 2008

In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

Kathleen Sebelius: Two decades in politics

Kathleen Sebelius is the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services in Obama's Cabinet. She has served as Kansas' governor since 2002 and before that was insurance commissioner and a state representative.

Related document

Statement from Project Vote Smart ( .PDF )

Related document

Ad from the Bluestem Fund ( .PDF )

— The Bluestem Fund -- Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' political action committee -- came under fire Thursday from a non-partisan voter education group for a campaign mailer that slams state Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence.

The mailer says Sloan, who faces Democrat John Wilson in Tuesday's election, is under the political influence of "Big Oil" and cites information from a questionnaire done for Project Vote Smart.

Project Vote Smart said the Bluestem Fund attacked Sloan with information the fund knows is false.

The group added: "By using the Project's name to give credibility to these attacks, the Bluestem Fund is cheating the public out of their need for trusted, abundant, accurate, factual information." Project Vote Smart also said it prohibits the use of its name and information in partisan ads.

The Bluestem Fund is chaired by Sebelius and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent months to help Democrats in legislative races.

Sloan has been one of the top targets of the Bluestem Fund.

The mailer says Sloan had been a paid lobbyist for Getty Oil and voted to give tax breaks to oil companies. It cites Sloan's response to questions from Project Vote Smart.

Sloan said he worked for Getty Oil in the 1980s. The mailer refers to a bill Sloan supported in 2007. According to a bill summary by the Kansas Legislative Research Department, the measure would have established tax deductions for crude oil reserve, natural gas reserve and natural gas liquid reserve property.

Sloan said the legislation would have provided incentives for three small refineries in Kansas, expansion of a fertilizer plant in Coffeyville and extension of a crude pipeline. "There was nothing in the bill for big oil," he said.

In an e-mail to the Lawrence Journal-World, Sloan said, "I believe that campaigns should be about the exchange of ideas and factual analysis of each candidate's full record. That my be naive today, but that is how I am conducting the campaign."

Nicole Corcoran, a spokeswoman for Sebelius, defended the mailer.

She said citing Project Vote Smart was done to show the source of the information, not to imply that Project Vote Smart supported the mailer.

As far as Sloan's work for Getty Oil in the 1980s, she said, "The fact is he was a lobbyist for Getty Oil."

The rebuke from Project Vote Smart is the second one this week delivered to Democrats in Lawrence races.

The group criticized state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, saying she improperly used information from its website in an ad against her Republican opponent, Scott Morgan, and took that information out of context. After hearing the criticism, Francisco said she would change the ad.


Marci Francisco 9 years, 5 months ago

For eastsideoftown, I hope that you did see my response to the previous story about Project Vote Smart.I can compare my record to a Senator who simply decided not to show up. Other Senators pass on votes. It turns out that "far more than any other Senator" is less than one-and-a-half percent.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 5 months ago

Project Vote Smart is not exactly Fact Check not by any stretch of the imagination. It is a little questionable that two republicans have chosen this site for their own protection. Project Vote Smart does not offer a lot of information in rebuttle mostly living off the title Project Vote Smart a Fact Check wannnabe ..... missses the mark by a mile.Sloan should have come out and said he was a lobbyist for oil however he squandered that opportunity. I have supported Sloan in the past but that is over. Simply put there is no such thing as clean coal or cheap coal power.Coal is not a good bang for the subsidy tax dollar or tax breaks. Plus wind,solar and hydropower will produce wayyyy more new jobs which is why JOCO Jr College is tooling up to meet the demand of educating/training. Gov. Sebelius has got her facts straight. Sloan was an oil lobbyist.

eastsideoftown 9 years, 5 months ago

Keeshan should spend less time criticizing Vote Smart and instead explaining how it is possible for a state senator to pass on 50 roll call votes.... far more than any other state senator. How does that make any sense. Are we so exceptional in Lawrence that our opinion should be ignored in Topeka that much? And no, you can't compare this voting record to another senator who missed votes because she was out of state with a cancer-ridden child. Our senator was there...perfect attendance you know. So, there is NO excuse for not voting yes or no.Actually voting. What a concept.

TopJayhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

The sooner Obama wins and takes Queen Kathy to D.C. the better off all of us will be.

situveux1 9 years, 5 months ago

I didn't understand how Sebelius could have her own PAC either until I came across this:

Bob_Keeshan 9 years, 5 months ago

None of what the eastsider posted addresses the point in question - did the mail piece attack with information that was false?eastsider, you might also reference my last paragraph. Vote Smart may have a legitimate point regarding what they consider appropriate usage of the materials gathered for their site, but that is not the point they are making in their release.To the contrary, the point they are making in their release is a false attack, unless somebody comes up with information that indicates Mr. Sloan did not formerly work as a lobbyist.In my mind, a loony is the type who brings unrelated issues into a discussion or who responds with name calling rather than addressing the points presented.

eastsideoftown 9 years, 5 months ago

Why is it that I, who knows nothing, can find on the Vote Smart Web site the very simple instructions that obviously the local lady senator and the governor can not find. They claim they read things very carefully after all........."Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any partisan activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches."

eastsideoftown 9 years, 5 months ago

Evidently Bob Keeshan suffers the same problem as senator marci and governor kathy...... not being able to read the rules. It is a pretty simple rule. Don't use their brand in your dispensing of political half-informationInstead, marci and Bluestem are "cheating the public out of their need for trusted, abundant, accurate, factual information." One more time. This leading national non-partisan source of political information says Marci and Bluestem are "cheating the public out of their need for trusted, abundant, accurate, factual information."

calvin 9 years, 5 months ago

Wow, Kathy Sebelius did something unethical? Hard to believe! When Barry O loses this election and her meal card out of KS does not get punched I bet she will be pi$$ed off.

Nobama 9 years, 5 months ago

Word is she is going to come back from D.C to run for the Senate. That's working out nice for Slattery. By then she'll be more blue hair than bluestem.

Bob_Keeshan 9 years, 5 months ago

If Project Vote Smart doesn't wish to be cited as a source of information, perhaps they should charge a subscription for their service.Read the opening paragraph of their statement - "The Bluestem Fund has attacked Thomas Sloan, Republican candidate for Kansas' State House District 45, with information they know to be false, and they have used Project Vote Smart's name to give their accusations credibility."You want to talk about attacking with information they know to be false?Notice how in this story it is firmly established that the "attack" in the mail piece is accurate.If you don't wish to be cited as a source of information, that is fine. However, in this case Project Vote Smart is actually the place peddling false information.

jarde 9 years, 5 months ago

We received a similar flyer against Anthony Brown. I looked and it's also from that fund - Bluestem. Looks like Sebelius and her groups are trying to buy this campaign for her people. It turns me off against the opponent. Can't wait until this is over! I don't understand how a Governor can be the head of a fund.

KU_cynic 9 years, 5 months ago

I had a high opinion of Mr. Sloan before the campaign got underway. He seems to consistently be well-prepared and professional in his duties as a legislator. That is not to say that I always agree with him, or that I can't understand that other people -- especially democrats -- won't always agree with him.That said, the "flood the mail with negative smear camnpaign literature" tactics of John Wilson and his allies (including the governor) really aggravate me. The material is negative and distortionary, more in its style like unctuous stuff that the state right wingers often pull than what Kansas deserve from aspirant office seekers of either party.I wasn't exactly open-minded before, but now I am resolute in my support for Sloan and in my disapproval of Wilson and his tactics.

eastsideoftown 9 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if this is an coordinated effort to misuse Vote Smart information to "cheat the public out of their need for trusted, abundant, accurate, factual information."

Danimal 9 years, 5 months ago

I don't think that Obama is taking Sebelius to DC with him. Unfortunately I think that there is a good chance the Kansas DP will convince her to stick around and run for Brownback's vacated Senate seat in a couple years, she's the only Dem in the state with a prayer of winning it. I wish she would pack up and leave Kansas though, heck she's not really from here anyway, she just saw political opportunity once she landed here.

eastsideoftown 9 years, 5 months ago

Keeshan: "If Project Vote Smart doesn't wish to be cited as a source of information, perhaps they should charge a subscription for their service"Merrill: "Project Vote Smart is not exactly Fact Check"How absolutely hilarious. Blame the messenger. The one who is trying to support full and complete information to voters without being twisted or mis-used by candidates. And both long-term Friends of Marci. Which is OK.I think Bob Keeshan and Merrill ought to investigate the origination, procedures, and policies of Vote Smart. It is an easy web-site to find. Marci has heralded this groups processes and procedures for a very long time. Including references that probably still violate the Vote Smart policies. (warning: Will Robinson)It is beyond laughable that Merrill makes an accusation of partisanship for an organization whose board is so full of nationally regarded Democrats. Of course, he hates Democrats who have not always ..... supported marci. That is the point. I don't believe we should have a "litmus" test for D-ness.Hey, I am an Obama supporter, vote mostly for Democrats. But it is the Merrills and the Keeshans of the world that remind me the loony left is as bad as the loony right. And if an elected official can't figure out how to show up and work, and actually cast votes, instead of being an "Empty Chair," she should be allowed to stay home.

pity2bu 9 years, 5 months ago

Toe, What do you expect she is a politician first and foremost, and a Democrat as well. The only thing slimier is a politician who has a law degree.......

postoakroad 9 years, 5 months ago

Bluestem and the Demo Party reportedly have spent more than $40,000 solely to defeat Tom Sloan.$40,000 ! That is more than many campaigns cost! And they are trying to smear a person who is a proven environmentalist as a non-environmentalist. One issue in one session is not the correct way to judge, despite them trying. That is pure demagoguery! I voted for the Governor. But why is she now trying to select who represents me. I find this highly outrageous. And rather non-democratic too. I wished I could take that vote back.

Edina 9 years, 5 months ago

When I got the colorful ads in the mail, the first thing I thought of is how much I miss the un-colorful, recycled-paper-grey, "voter information" booklet I used to get in the mail as a voter in the Bay Area. Maybe I'm lazy (or busy) but I miss these booklets, and it seems so much harder for Kansas voters to have accurate info. I also got an ad in the mail asking me, in essence, to kill off public transportation, but no counter-ad. Our CA voter information booklet allowed both sides to voice an opinion on an issue, and even to write a rebuttal against the opponent's statement. I think there are less false/misleading statements when opponents know that there will be a rebuttal printed on the same page. If there is dishonesty, it is obvious (even if it takes research to see which side is honest) so there is more effort to be truthful. All the $$$$$$ spent on the colorful "ads" in KS would be better spent on honest, two-sided voter education distributed to busy/lazy voters. Mailings are critical because everyone gets mail (I do not own a TV, I don't have time for "town hall meetings," I'm in my pajamas at home and don't answer the door for campaigning politicians, but I usually remember to retrieve my mail). I'm a Dem and I'm happy that my party has so much $ these days but the system is broken if $ (and dumb one-sided ads) is such a dominant influence on votes. Voters should be treated as intelligent citizens and given more, honest, information.

Reed66050 9 years, 5 months ago

I am really concerned about the long term energy strategy of Kansas. We have had 14 years of a self proclaimed energy expert (R-Tom Sloan) who has not been able to get us going in the right direction, despite hailing from the majority party. It's time for change. I like John Wilson's commitment to tap renewable energy sources that will not only protect our environment, but also create long term economic security here and elsewhere in Kansas!

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