Friday, Sept. 26, 2008 | 2 a.m.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running a TV ad attacking Republican Rep. Jon Porter for taking money from special interests. Democratic state Sen. Dina Titus is opposing him in the race for the 3rd Congressional District seat.
The Script: Narrator: “For the special interests in Washington it’s one big party. And Congressman Jon Porter is all in. Porter took over $400,000 from insurance and drug interests, $233,000 from oil and gas interests, and voted them billions in tax breaks. Porter receives taxpayer-funded health care yet voted to cut billions from veterans benefits. This year the party’s over.”
The Video: Opens with a partial image of the Capitol and a fuzzy video of people dancing at a nightclub. A black and white photo of a smiling Porter is shown, animated crudely to make it look as if he’s dancing. With this image, phrases from the script appear: “Took $400,000 from insurance and drug interests,” “took $233,000 from oil and gas interests” and “voted them billions in tax breaks,” and last, “receives tax-payer funded healthcare” and “voted to cut billions from veteran benefits.” The screen goes black, and a still version of the Porter photo is shown with the sentences: “This year the party’s over. It’s time for a change.”
The Reality: The ad is disingenuous in its portrayal of Porter’s campaign contributions. First, the numbers cited, though accurate, are his career totals since 1989 and include the races he won to become Boulder City mayor and a state senator before his election to Congress in 2002. The contributions from each of the interests mentioned in the ad amount to less than 5 percent of his total career contributions.
Furthermore, the claim that he voted to give oil and gas interests tax cuts is unfair. The ad refers to the 2005 energy bill, which, while giving energy companies some breaks, actually produced a net tax increase for oil and gas companies.
The ad also combines the contributions from insurance interests with those of drug company interests — two separate groups — likely for the sake of impact. The drug contributions for his entire political career since 1989, as reported by the same source used in the ad, are $89,055. Insurance interests’ contributions for that period total $314,973.
Although it is somewhat unfair to juxtapose his federal health care coverage with his votes on a large resolution that set the budget for government as a whole, Porter did vote along party lines in favor of a 2006 budget proposal that included cuts to veterans benefits.