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September 20, 2014

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REALITY CHECK:

Ad critical of ’99 Sharron Angle vote not wholly accurate

Early voting begins Saturday, and the Senate race is filling the airwaves. Here’s the latest from Harry Reid. This is another in what I call the “Sharron Angle and the Extremes” series from Team Reid.

The commercial

The ad focuses on a 1999 Assembly bill to create a fund to help nonprofit organizations pay for background checks on volunteers who work with children to see whether they had sexual offenses on their record.

It’s narrated by a family therapist, Roberta Vande Voort, who works with abused children. The narrator says Angle was one of two members of the Assembly to vote against the measure, claiming it was an “invasion of privacy.” The narrator claims Angle “voted to protect the privacy of sex offenders instead of the safety of our kids.”

The reality

So did Angle say background checks were an invasion of privacy? Not quite. Let’s highlight everything she said, according to the legislative minutes of March 1, 1999:

“Ms. Angle expressed concern with the possible invasion of privacy and liability issues included in the bill. She stated voluntary programs always stepped up to become mandatory and she did not want to see the state get involved with things of a First Amendment nature. She also asked Mr. Nolan to expound on the chilling effect of the legislation.”

That’s a reference to bill sponsor Dennis Nolan, who explained there was no mandate and added: “The rights we are weighing here are the rights of innocent children who participate in organizations under the supervision of adults, and the need to make sure those children are protected.”

That seemed to sway Angle at the time — she voted for the bill in committee, according to the minutes. But a month and a half later, despite only minor changes, she voted against the bill on the floor.

The ad’s claim that Angle “voted to protect the privacy of sex offenders instead of the safety of our kids” is ridiculously inflammatory and it’s the kind of language that tends to undermine the legitimacy of the criticism.

But is it legitimate to call Angle “extreme” for being one of only three lawmakers to oppose this relatively noncontroversial bill?

I suppose. But I suppose others would say she is principled, being an absolutist on privacy issues even if it possibly could result in kids being less safe.

This is a classic case of cherry-picking votes to make a case. Unfortunately for Angle there are a lot of issues where she was in a tiny minority voting against. So it fits in the general Team Reid theme.

I think it just goes a bit too far. I give it a C.

Transcribed from “Face to Face With Jon Ralston.”

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  1. Both parties are a disgrace; I have never seen so many lies. You know with all these lies that they are going to do great job for us when they do get into office!

    All they care about is getting into office and will say anything that might get them there!
    Every one of these ads should be checked out by the media and the voters should have the truth about the ads, for the voters that are just too damn dumb for their own good, and believe anything they see on TV with these ads.

    This election has been a joke, and a disgrace to NV, if they are not telling the truth now, what is going to happen when they are in office?

  2. This is very true of many ads and most of them never get called out. Harry Reid had an ad at one point that said that he voted against a multi-billion dollar subsidy of big oil. At the bottom of the ad it referenced the bill in question. That bill was the Murkowski Resolution which was just an attempt by some in Congress to tell the EPA that they did not have the authority to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases without additional authorization. In some way that could be seen as benefiting big oil, as well as coal and natural gas, but it clearly wasn't what it was portrayed to be. There is also an ad where it says that a woman who worked 40 years would have been left with nothing if she has invested her social security money in the stock market. The truth is that if you assume she started at 22 and worked 40 years (since she'd have to be 62 to get early SS) and take just the SS portion of her pay over those 40 years and invest it at the return of the S&P 500, she ends up being able to take over twice as much money per month as social security. That was calculated based on the S&P 500 returns through August 2010, so it included the market crash. So, all the talk about that is junk if you can assume that people invest safely. So, one just has to say voter beware.

  3. Jon, I can't imagine what it would take for you to hand out a lower grade if this gets a "C". Kudos for at calling Reid out on this, but by your own words it doesn't deserve an average grade (unless you mean that this kind of ad is the norm, then I won't argue.)