TARGET 8 Fact Check: Senate Majority PAC attacks Josh Hawley in TV ad

1 year 2 months 3 days ago Friday, March 16 2018 Mar 16, 2018 Friday, March 16, 2018 9:12:00 PM CDT March 16, 2018 in News
By: Mackenzie Huck, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Missouri's Senate race between Attorney General Josh Hawley and Sen. Claire McCaskill is shaping up to what some are calling one of the most competitive and most dramatic elections this midterm election season.

Attack ads have already hit the airwaves, and Columbia College political science professor Terry Smith said the number of ads are only going to increase in the next few months. 

“In 2016, at just the federal level alone, there were $8 billion spent on elections," Smith said. "There’s lots of money out there. In Missouri, the laws are pretty flexible and permissive. Just wait until this season progresses because there are going to be tens of millions of dollars spent in Missouri on this Senate race.”

Senate Majority PAC's latest ad takes aim at Attorney General Josh Hawley's alleged link to mega donors and his self-proclaimed record of fighting corruption in Jefferson City. Here is the Target 8 team's analysis of the ad against Hawley.

Claim: Josh Hawley took nearly $3 million from a single donor who was accused of an illegal "pay to play" scheme with lawmakers.

We found this claim to be true. According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, the donor referred to in the ad, Joplin businessman David Humphreys, donated $2.75 million to Hawley's Attorney General campaign in 2016.

Humphreys was then accused of a "pay to play" scandal involving Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard (R-District 32). Both men have denied any wrongdoing. 

Smith said SMP is going to capitalize on the idea of "pay to play," the relationship to Humphreys and Hawley's campaign promise to combat corruption.

Smith said "pay to play" is shorthand for "somebody making a donation to a campaign and then having some expectation of a payback in the sense of maybe supporting a policy or proposing legislation or maybe opposing legislation that benefits the donor."

Smith added, "that’s why people are so skeptical of campaign finance because that looks like corruption to lots of people. It’s really normal business."

When asked about the situation in April, Hawley told KCUR that his office didn't have criminal jurisdiction over "pay-to-play" allegations in the Capitol. He said that would have to be handled by the local county prosecutor.

Claim: Hawley has taken no action. He said he saw nothing wrong, and admits he hadn't looked at evidence in the case. This in reference to the "pay to play" scandal.

We found this claim to be incomplete. When Hawley spoke about the case to the Kansas City Star, he said he doesn’t see any evidence of corruption involving Humphreys and Senate Pro Tem Richard’s relationship because there is no evidence.

“You have a contributor who gives to someone, and that’s not against the law,” Hawley told the KC Star. “We’ve received no evidence in that case that would suggest any wrongdoing. In fact, we’ve received no evidence at all in that case.” 

SMP communications director Chris Hayden said Hawley is not looking hard enough for evidence.

“An attorney general, if they’re really concerned about it, they can look for evidence and make it a priority for them. Josh Hawley does not believe this is a priority for his office," Hayden said.

Ad takes shots at Hawley's Public Corruption Unit

When Hawley ran for attorney general he promised his office would “take a more aggressive role in aiding local and federal prosecutors investigating allegations of corruption.”  Since he was elected, Hawley has created a "public corruption unit." 

In an email, Hawley for Senate spokeswoman Kelli Ford said he has stuck to his campaign promises. She said there are people working specifically for this unit and they've prosecuted four different people. 

“The bottom line is Hawley has prioritized prosecuting public corruption and created a team to make it happen," Ford said. "Regardless of whether the group is a team or unit, Hawley’s office still has a working group of lawyers who have already prosecuted four officials for public corruption.” 

Hayden is standing by the ad's claims.

“It’s that kind of disfunction that you’re seeing with Gov. Greitens that Josh Hawley said he would clean up, but he’s not," Hayden said. "He’s trying to run from that job. He has shown no ability to clean up Jefferson City. Missouri voters should not trust that he has any ability to clean up Washington, D.C.”

In addition to the creation of a corruption unit, Hawley has also enacted an ethics policy for his employees that prohibits them from accepting gifts from lobbyists.

Ford said claims made about Hawley's record have been false in the past, and this is another attempt to discredit his campaign.

"Claire McCaskill is pushing false information about Josh’s record as attorney general in hopes of pulling the wool over voters' eyes – and all of her liberal friends are in on it,” Ford said. “Their claims about his efforts on public corruption were rated ‘mostly false’ months ago. Unfortunately, this shows what kind of campaign she’s running. She is in the worst position of her 36-year political career, and she will do anything – even lie – to tear Josh down.”  

Voters will head to the polls for the midterm elections set for Nov. 6. For more TARGET 8 Fact Checks, click here.

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Some Missouri lawmakers say they haven't given up on a bipartisan bill designed to change Missouri’s criminal... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 3:00:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
VERSAILLES - Graduation at Morgan County R-II High School is Saturday, but not all of the senior class will be... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 1:39:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Blind Boone Home (10 N Fourth Street) will commemorate John William "Blind" Boone's 155th birthday on Saturday,... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 12:39:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
IONA - The Benton County Sheriff's Office arrested a man suspected of shooting and killing an Iona woman. Around... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 12:10:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have passed legislation limiting the number of young children at in-home child-care providers.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 10:33:00 AM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- Two MU students held a practice barista competition today at the Memorial Union location on the campus. The practice... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, May 16 2019 May 16, 2019 Thursday, May 16, 2019 7:30:00 PM CDT May 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - In order to prevent the use of eminent domain to build the Grain Belt Express transmission line,... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, May 16 2019 May 16, 2019 Thursday, May 16, 2019 6:11:00 PM CDT May 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A section in House Bill 126 , which would ban abortions after eight weeks, provides an incentive... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, May 16 2019 May 16, 2019 Thursday, May 16, 2019 5:49:00 PM CDT May 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - An affidavit filed in a drug trafficking case is providing new details on the 2017 death of Augustus... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, May 16 2019 May 16, 2019 Thursday, May 16, 2019 5:38:00 PM CDT May 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A crash on I-70 has left one man in critical condition and two with minor injuries. William... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, May 16 2019 May 16, 2019 Thursday, May 16, 2019 4:01:00 PM CDT May 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A bill that would make it easier for police to issue alerts for child abductions in Missouri... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, May 16 2019 May 16, 2019 Thursday, May 16, 2019 3:33:00 PM CDT May 16, 2019 in News
BOONVILLE - While multiple parents say a student took Xanax to Boonville High School Tuesday and gave the drugs to... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, May 16 2019 May 16, 2019 Thursday, May 16, 2019 3:28:00 PM CDT May 16, 2019 in News
BOONVILLE - The Cooper County Prosecuting Attorney has charged Derrick Young of Marshall, MO with the shooting of two individuals... More >>
3 days ago Thursday, May 16 2019 May 16, 2019 Thursday, May 16, 2019 2:47:00 PM CDT May 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate passed a version of a "heartbeat" abortion bill early Thursday morning. The bill... More >>
4 days ago Thursday, May 16 2019 May 16, 2019 Thursday, May 16, 2019 5:58:00 AM CDT May 16, 2019 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Missouri's Republican-led Senate passed a bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. Senators... More >>
4 days ago Thursday, May 16 2019 May 16, 2019 Thursday, May 16, 2019 4:45:00 AM CDT May 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's Republican-led Legislature approves a ban on abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. The house voted... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, May 15 2019 May 15, 2019 Wednesday, May 15, 2019 11:00:00 PM CDT May 15, 2019 in News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama's Republican governor signed the most stringent abortion legislation in the nation Wednesday, making performing an abortion... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, May 15 2019 May 15, 2019 Wednesday, May 15, 2019 5:33:29 PM CDT May 15, 2019 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY – Just hours after the end of a 27-hour long filibuster by Senate conservatives, Senate Democrats brought the... More >>
4 days ago Wednesday, May 15 2019 May 15, 2019 Wednesday, May 15, 2019 3:20:00 PM CDT May 15, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 52°
8am 50°
9am 52°
10am 55°
11am 58°