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PolitiFact rates Tom Steyer group ad against Joni Ernst 'false'

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Iowa,2014 Elections,Ashe Schow,Politifact,Tom Steyer,Bruce Braley,Joni Ernst

Fact-checkers at PolitiFact say a television ad claiming Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst pledged to protect “tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas” is false.

The ad, paid for by billionaire Tom Steyer’s group NextGen Climate Action Committee, opens with two old, white men sitting in a dark, wood-paneled room looking at a TV screen with Sen. Ted Cruz’s Image on display.

“Who’s next?” one of the men asks while smoking his bourgeois cigar. The television screen shows Ernst.

“Iowa. Ernst,” the other man says.

“We got her to pledge?” the first man asks.

“Oh, Joni,” the second man says, emphasizing her name, “signed on the line.”

The television screen reads “Ernst’s pledge: Protects tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.”

“More outsourcing,” the second man says. “China, Mexico — all the way.”

“She isn’t worried about Iowa jobs?” the first man asks.

The second man assures him that Ernst is on their side. The two men share an evil laugh.

But as not-at-all-cartoonish as that ad appears, PolitiFact says it's false:

The pledge that the ad is talking about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge — crafted by Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist’s anti-tax group, in 1986. Lawmakers who sign it pledge to fight tax increases. Ernst signed the federal pledge back in July 2013.

Democrats say this means Ernst and other signers pledge to protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. That’s a stretch.

For one, the text of the pledge is brief and does not take positions on specific issues, like protecting companies with employees in other countries. It says nothing about jobs or changing tax code.

NextGen claimed it was referencing ATR’s stance on a bill that in part paid for new spending by closing tax loopholes for companies doing business overseas. PolitiFact said the bill “didn’t specifically address workers or where employees are located.”

“NextGen Climate is essentially arguing that because Americans for Tax Reform told pledge signers not to vote for this bill all pledge signers support outsourcing protections,” PolitiFact said.

This isn’t the first time Democrats have been caught peddling this claim.

“In 2010, PolitiFact Virginia checked a similar statement, that a state legislature candidate ‘supports the tax loopholes that send American jobs overseas,’" PolitiFact wrote. "They rated the claim false.”

“The same year, our friends at Factcheck.org found the claim, used against a Republican House candidate from Hawaii, to be false. And they pointed out that pro-Democratic groups that used the attack ads in quite a number of ads,” PolitiFact added. “The Associated Press also said the claim was wrong in 2010.”

Note to Democrats: You’ve been told your claim is false multiple times, stop misleading people.

Ernst faces Democrat Bruce Braley in November.

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