i9 Fact Checker: Democratic PAC misleads voters on Ernst D.C. condo

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 7:38 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The ad comes from the Senate Majority PAC. Democratic Strategists founded the group with the goal of getting more Democrats elected to the Senate. This ad attacks Sen. Joni Ernst on a condo she owns in Washington, D.C, saying it broke a promise made in a radio interview.

Source: The ad is from Senate Majority PAC.

The group is a political action committee with the mission to elect Democratic senators and defeat republican senators for their views on taxes, health care, Medicare, and education. Democratic strategists found the group.

Claim #1: “She said she’d never move to Washington D.C. but the first chance she got, she put down roots in Washington and she fit right in. In January 2016, Ernst bought a luxury condo just steps from the capital.”

The ad cites an interview with conservative radio host Simon Conway from 2013. In the interview, Ernst is asked, “What are you going to do, to make sure that the Joni Ernst who sat in front of me right now is the same Joni Ernst when she’s United States Senator Joni Ernst?”.

Ernst discusses her moving back to Iowa from Florida and wanting her daughter to grow up in the state.

“Going back to the values, those are values, things that I care about. I grew up with those,” Ernst said. “I want my daughter to experience that. So, I will always have that Iowa connection. I don’t intend to go to Washington D.C. and buy a big fancy house, relocate my family out there.”

Ernst did buy a condo in Washington, D.C. Property records show the condo is less than 2 miles away from Capitol Hill.

Two apartment websites said the condo includes full-time concierge service along with private parking and other utilities like internet and cable. Some listing prices for an apartment in the area were around $400,000

However, the condo is not her primary place of residence. The Des Moines Register reported in 2019 on Ernst claiming a tax credit on the D.C. property. The specific tax credit can only be used if it is a person’s primary residence. The report came from a research group, which has the goal of “find what Republicans are hiding and make sure voters hear about it," tipped off, and provided records to, the Register.

Ernst returned the tax credit calling it a “mistake”. It is worth noting Republicans attacked former Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell after he was caught for a similar issue in 2018.

The claim on its face is true. She did buy a condo in Washington, D.C. However, it’s misleading to say she’s moved there because she has to live somewhere in D.C., therefore we’re giving this claim a C.

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