With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Corey Mitchell, Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

GOP's 'Truth Matters' website missed the mark in volley against Franken

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota U.S. senators, Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota congressional, Democrats, Republicans Updated: October 25, 2013 - 1:15 PM

The Minnesota Republican Party this week launched a website, called the TruthMattersMN, claiming Minnesota Democrats have lied about all manner of things.

Much of the site included standard hits on Democratic elected officials but one hit in particular caught Hot Dish's attention.

The site said that Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken "lied and claimed he voted against" the medical device tax that was in the federal health care overhaul, known as Obamacare.

But Franken voted for the health care overhaul, which included the medical device tax as a funding source. If he claimed at some point that he did not vote for it, that would be an untruth.

From the Minnesota Republican Party's TruthMattersMN site

From the Minnesota Republican Party's TruthMattersMN site

But a search turned up no evidence of Franken claiming to have voted against it.

GOP party officials, when asked, were unable to provide documentation of their claim.

After questioning from the Star Tribune, the Republican Party changed its website.

It now reads, "Franken lied and said he 'has opposed the medical device tax since it was first proposed.'"

Whether the new claim from the Republicans catches Franken in a lie is more nuanced than the Republicans' first take on the subject.

Franken clearly voted for the bill that put the tax in place. But he also co-authored a letter to the Senate finance chairman in September 2009, before his vote for the health care bill, opposing the tax as a health care funding source and been on the record since then opposing to the tax.

"He is continuing to work across party lines to get the tax repealed for good," Franken's campaign manager Matt Burgress said.

So far, those efforts, which have been led by Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, have failed to rescind the tax. But this spring, Minnesota-based Medtronic recognized the efforts and the Minnesota members' history on the tax. In a release, the company said of Franken, Klobuchar and Paulsen: "These members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation have demonstrated persistent and thoughtful leadership around the medical device tax from the beginning in an attempt to exclude it from healthcare reform, and when a separate vote was not possible, worked to limit its size and impact."

The hit on Franken on the medical device tax may be a solid one for Republican to run with in Minnesota. Medical device companies in Minnesota employ about 30,000 in the state and the companies have been ardent in the opposition to the tax. But the Republicans missed the mark in their initial volley on their website.

So far, Franken's vote for the health care bill that put the tax in place has not halted the medical device companies' support for his re-election.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics figures, Franken received $12,950 in contributions as of August this year from medical device and supply industry interests, ranking him second in such contributions in the Senate and sixth among all federal candidates.

But the industry has been more enthusiastic in its support for one of Franken's opponents.

Republican Mike McFadden, one of several candidates running against Franken, received at least $26,000 from those connected with the industry, ranking him second among all federal candidates.

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT