Former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz went on the attack Thursday, airing the first critical ad of the 2012 Connecticut Senate race, alleging that her Democratic primary rival is too financially cozy with Wall Street.
But a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, the Democrats' endorsed candidate, said the 30-second commercial is based largely on false claims and hypocrisy, and accused Bysiewicz of running misleading campaigns since the 1990s.
"The truth is that nobody in Connecticut is buying the attack because it is simply made up out of thin air," said Taylor Lavender, a Murphy spokeswoman.
In her latest ad, which began running on broadcast TV Thursday morning, Bysiewicz claims Murphy has accepted more than $700,000 in contributions from "Wall Street." Bysiewicz's campaign cites campaign finance data on the Center for Responsive Politics website between 2006 and 2012 and relies on the center's definition for the "securities and investment industry" to identify Wall Street contributions.
"You can't stand up to Wall Street when they're giving you this much money," Bysiewicz says in the ad, accusing Murphy of stepping away from his promise in 2006 to "change Congress" when he criticized then-Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson for taking political contributions from drug companies. Murphy defeated Johnson that year.
"In many ways, he has become the person he ran against in Nancy Johnson," said Jonathan Ducote, Bysiewicz's campaign manager.
Some of the so-called Wall Street contributors to Murphy, which Bysiewicz lists on a new website she created at www.wallstreetmurphy.com , are not typical Wall Street-related entities. While there are contributions from investment banks and securities firms, the list also includes the American Society of Anesthesiologists Political Action Committee, which gave $2,500; the National Beer Wholesalers Association PAC, which gave $5,000; and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America PAC, which contributed $1,000.
Murphy's campaign blasted Bysiewicz's claim in the ad that the 5th District congressman "has taken more hedge fund money than any other Democrat in Congress" as false, listing other Democrats who've received more contributions from hedge funds during the 2012 cycle. Topping the list is Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who has collected $84,800 from hedge funds.
Murphy's campaign also pointed out how Bysiewicz's campaign has received $6,500 from hedge funds in 2012 while Murphy's has received $10,200, and that Bysiewicz's contributions comprise a larger percentage of her overall contributions to her Senate campaign.
In a fact-checking document provided to reporters, Bysiewicz's campaign said Murphy's alleged top ranking among Democrats for accepting "hedge fund money" comes solely from 2008 hedge fund donations. But according to the Center for Responsive Politics website, (www.opensecrets.org) Murphy received only $17,100 from hedge funds that year, compared to $125,500 collected by former Democratic U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois.
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