i9 Fact Checker: Hinson attack ad misleads viewers and lacks context

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 8:17 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A new ad from Republican challenger Ashley Hinson goes after her opponent in Iowa’s First District against Democrat Abby Finkenauer.

SOURCE: TV ad titled “Debate”, now airing in Iowa from the Ashley Hinson campaign

Claim #1: Abby Finkenauer refuses to debate

ANALYSIS: The ad, which uses clips from KCRG-TV9 broadcasts, goes after Finkenauer for declining multiple debates with her Republican challenger Ashley Hinson.

The two did debate on Iowa Press on Labor Day. However, the one debate on the holiday is likely to become the only debate between the two candidates.

Hinson said on Facebook she agreed to have their debate that day because she’ll “debate Congresswoman Finkenauer anytime and any place.”

Abby Finkenauer has declined multiple debates from multiple other outlets, including KCRG. A spokesperson from the congresswoman’s office told KCRG-TV9 her congressional schedule was too busy and cited early voting in declining to do a debate after Congress started its recess on October 2nd. Early voting in Iowa started October 5th.

Hinson’s campaign has worked hard to get Finkenauer to accept another debate. Even dressing up as a chicken and creating an account on Twitter.

Conclusion: Finkenauer has declined several debates with State Representative Hinson. She has debated her once though, which is why we’re giving this claim a B.

Claim #2: “Finkenauer made Time to raise Taxes”

Analysis: The Hinson campaign told our i9 Fact Checkers this statement was in regard to a bill Finkenauer co-sponsored with more than 200 democrats in the house called the Social Security 2100 Act.

The bill, which was only introduced in the house in 2019 and never voted on, was designed to make the program financially stable through 2100, hence the name. In doing so, it also increased benefits.

Social Security’s Chief Actuary estimated in a letter the bill would make social security financially secure for 75 years. However, according to the bill’s text, the money does come from increasing payroll taxes by .1 percentage points for a total increase of about 20% by 2043 according to the Congressional Budget Office.

An average worker with an annual salary of $50,000 would pay an extra $1,200 per year, according to the conservative research firm called the Heritage Foundation.

Conclusion: The bill would increase taxes. However, it was never voted on and is stuck in committee. Although it is likely Finkenauer would have voted for the bill, this claim is missing context and makes it sound like Rep. Finkenauer did raise taxes. That’s why we’re giving it a “C”.

Claim #3: “and cut $600 million for police”

Analysis: The Hinson campaign told our i9 Fact Checkers this statement was in regard to the second version of the Hero’s Act, which was a pandemic relief bill.

This specific bill is a smaller version of the first version of this bill, which was also a pandemic relief bill worth more than $3 trillion. This version the Hinson campaign is citing is worth $2.2 Tillion and was created to provide relief to Americans at a lower price tag and entice Republicans in the senate to negotiate. Finkenauer voted against the first bill but did support the second version.

The legislation provides a second round of direct cash payments, aid for local and state governments, assistance for front-line workers and an extension of unemployment benefits.

The Hinson campaign points to $600 million in funding lost between the two versions of the bill, which it said would have gone to police through two different programs.

In the first version, $300 million would have gone to the Community Oriented Policing Services. That specific funding would provide grants to hire and rehire additional career law enforcement officers. Another $300 million would have gone to the purchasing of personal protective equipment and costs related to preventing and controlling coronavirus at prisons.

The second version of the Heros Act didn’t have either of these funds.

Conclusion: The ad claims Finkenauer cut funding for police based on the difference between two proposals. That is not a cut. Both of these bills would have provided additional funding to help with COVID-19 responses. Finkenauer did support the version with less money for law enforcement – but, again, it does not cut any funding. That’s why this claim gets a D.

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