Not even the punctuation is factual in attack ads on Senator Collins

Stylized screenshot of a Sara Gideon campaign ad. Gideon has benefitted from millions of dollars in dark money ads in Maine.

Following is an opinion column from Maine Examiner contributor Ken Frederic. At the end you will find an exhaustive list of links and research referenced in this column.

It was almost 40 years ago I learned a couple exceedingly difficult and expensive lessons about our legal system.  I had always been taught that people were required to tell the truth in court and legal proceedings.  I expected that.  Then I learned that lawyers, at least some of them, define the truth as: “Whatever I can get the Judge to believe”.  Sadly, lots of lawyers also become politicians and while politicians telling the truth is something expected by nobody, ever, it is particularly infuriating to be assaulted and insulted by articles, interviews, and advertisements in which we know not even the punctuation is factual. 

One such advertisement, paid for by Senate Majority PAC, attacks Senator Susan Collins for voting 7 times against Maine citizens with pre-existing conditions.  A small inset momentarily flashes the instances, too quickly for most to read.  But they must be read and researched.  The instances are:  1) S Con Res 3 – Vote 26 – 1/12/17, 2) S Con Res 3 – Vote 1 – 1/04/17,  3)  HR 22 – Vote 253 – 7/26/15, 4) S Con Res 11 – Vote 171 – 5/5/15, 5)  S Con Res 11 – Vote 135 – 3/27/15, 6) S Con Res 8 – Vote 51 – 3/22/13, and 7) S 223 – Vote 9 – 2/2/11.  Anyone can, though probably none will, look up these votes (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes). There is no need to research anything to see the list includes duplicate information on the same bills, including procedural votes, and includes votes reaching as far back as 2011.  In fact, research would show that none of these votes dealt with pre-existing conditions. 

The truth is that Senator Collins has been a champion for coverage of pre-existing conditions and verification of that is easily found, starting with her own web site. Nobody, anywhere, legitimately thought otherwise. The advertisement also suggests (plainly says, in this viewer’s estimation) that corporate contributions influenced those votes.  There is no evidence that Pharmaceutical Industry has an interest in pre-existing conditions but that aside, if accepting Pharmaceutical and Insurance industry contributions is a legitimate denouncement, any ethical reporter would point out her opponent has taken far more from those industries.    

Apparently, Democrats (at least those who make the most noise) and their media allies are still apoplectic that Donald Trump won in 2016, that the Mueller ‘investigation’ showed there was never any basis for the Russia hysteria, that their campaign against Justice Kavanaugh failed and that their baseless impeachment effort failed. Any search including the Senator’s name on Bing or Google returns a virtual blizzard of articles denouncing her votes to confirm Kavanaugh and acquit our President but none of that changes the fact that Justice Kavanaugh is appointed for life and Donald Trump is our President.  Voters will decide whether Democrats’ actions and words are punishable in November.

Voters will also decide whether the gleeful anticipation of continuing the COVID-19 lockdowns through the end of the year bespeak genuine concern over public health or a more sinister motivation to damage the U. S. economy as much as possible ahead of the November election.  Voters must also consider whether there is a motive to condition the people to accept arbitrary Executive Orders nullifying constitutional rights and bypassing the legislative process. 

There is no longer any question of the impropriety of actions by the FBI Director.  We will soon know whether Judge Emmet Sullivan is removed from the Flynn case and beyond that looms the results of the investigation by John Durham, due out well before the election. We know of Hunter Biden’s financial dealings in the Ukraine and China.  The issue is not whether the law prohibits those dealings, but people concerned about abuse of office surely question whether any legal or ethical framework that permits such dealings is crafted to protect against corruption or facilitate it.  We are told, by some, that unmasking of US citizens is routine in the Intelligence Community.  Whether that is fact is almost immaterial.  Having attended yearly USSID 18* training session for three decades, I can say without hesitation that unmasking should be, and was intended to be, rare.  If it is indeed routine, that proves the laws protecting Americans’ privacy are being disregarded and that should alarm and infuriate every American.

Responsible voters will evaluate what is true and what is not and most, hopefully, will brutally punish those peddling falsehood, protecting corruption, and subverting our institutions. Others will continue to insist the Russia-gate matter was not the biggest political scandal in American History, that the accusations against Kavanaugh were plausible, and that the case made by Adam Schiff was convincing. They will believe, or claim to believe, whatever justifies voting for less individual freedom, a weaker America, and more of other people’s money being redistributed to them by tyrannical politicians.  

What will you do?

*United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 – Policies, Procedures, and Responsibilities for safeguarding the constitutional rights of US Persons.

Ken Frederic is a native of Ellsworth and graduate of UMO. He and his wife, Betty Ann, retired to Maine in 2012 after 43 years as a Department of Defense consultant. They now live in Bristol and are active in the community, St. Patrick’s Church, and Republican politics.

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00026

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/115-2017/s1

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr22

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-concurrent-resolution/11

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/113-2013/s51

https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/senate-bill/223

https://archive.thinkprogress.org/gop-vote-essential-health-benefits-694a83fbaaf6/

Votes Cited:

  • S Con Res 3 – Vote 26 – 1/12/17: Senator Collins voted in favor of S. Con. Res. 3. The resolution would have given the Chairman of Budget the ability to revise allocations to the ACA before the floor vote.  The chairman had no power after the floor vote passed to change allocation. Since Collins only voted on final floor passage, the language in question was inoperative. The measure passed by a vote of 51 to 48.
  • Senator Collins voted in favor of the Motion to Proceed to S. Con. Res. 3; A concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2017 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2018 through 2026. The measure passed by a vote of 51 to 48.
  • Senator Collins voted in favor of cloture motion on McConnell S.Amdt. 2328  to S. Amdt. 2327 to S. Amdt. 2266 to H.R. 22.  This amendment would repeal the ACA and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 entirely.  The measure failed to reach 3/5 Majority required to pass, 49-43.
  •  Senator Collins voted in favor of the conference report to Accompany S. Con. Res. 11.  The Committee vote gave the Chairman of Budget the ability to revise allocations to the ACA before the floor vote.  The chairman has no power during or after the floor vote passed to change allocation. The measure passed 51-48 on the floor, at which point the problematic clause was inoperative.
  • S Con Res 11 – Vote 135 – 3/27/15: Senator Collins voted in favor of the S. Con. Res. 11.  The Committee vote gave the Chairman of Budget the ability to revise allocations to the ACA before the floor vote.  The chairman has no power during or after the floor vote passed to change allocation. The measure passed, 52-46 on the floor, at which point the problematic clause was inoperative.
  • Senator Collins voted in favor of Cruz S. Amdt. 202 to S. Con. Res. 8 establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to provide for the repeal of the ACA and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act and to encourage patient-centered reforms to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs, promoting economic growth. The ACA had not yet been implemented and no person’s coverage would have been directly affected. The measure failed, 45-54.
  • S 223 – Vote 9 – 2/2/11: Senator Collins voted in favor of McConnell Amdt. No. 13 to the FAA Air Transport bill. The amendment would have repealed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which made a number of changes to the ACA, including the introduction of the employer mandate penalty for businesses employing over 50 employees.  The penalty was $2,000 per employee over 30 if the business had at least 50 employees (so for a business with 53 employees, $2,000 x 23 employees = $46,000), which prompted employers to cut back hours and positions or forgo growth opportunities in order to stay below the 50-employee threshold. The measure failed, 47-51.

https://wgme.com/news/local/susan-collins-complains-about-misleading-campaign-advertising

https://www.mainedems.org/media/what-senator-collins-isnt-telling-you-she-voted-least-dozen-times-gut-protections-pre

https://freebeacon.com/politics/liberal-dark-money-group-behind-maine-news-site-attacking-collins/

https://www.guiltygideon.com/

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/oct/29/left-leaning-dark-money-groups-targeting-sen-susan/

https://www.collins.senate.gov/newsroom/senator-collins-votes-protect-individuals-pre-existing-conditions

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