Senate races

Koch network launches $2M ad blitz in Pennsylvania Senate race


The donor network helmed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch is running a new $2 million campaign against Democratic Pennsylvania Senate candidate Katie McGinty.

The attack ad, titled “We get left behind,” paints McGinty as a politician who parlays public office into private profit.

{mosads}The Koch campaign against McGinty is funded by the network’s main political super-PAC, the Freedom Partners Action Fund, and brings the group’s total spending in Pennsylvania to $5.5 million. 

The spot charges that McGinty “helped steer millions of our tax dollars to companies that promised to help” Pennsylvanians. But “it was McGinty that got ahead.”

“She helped them get our money. They helped her career. She keeps moving up. We get left behind,” the ad’s narrator says.

The Koch network, which plans to spend at least $42 million in 2016 to help the GOP keep control of the Senate, is a strong supporter of Pennsylvania’s vulnerable Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

The race between Toomey and McGinty is so tight that the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls declares it a tie.

Toomey has voted largely in line with the Koch network’s policy agenda, and saving his seat is a major priority for the donors.  

The ad charges that McGinty used her position as secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection under then-Gov. Ed Rendell (D) to steer taxpayer money into an industry that she later leveraged for her career.

“Katie McGinty helped steer millions of tax dollars to the same well-connected special interests that then gave her board positions and campaign donations,” said Koch network spokesman James Davis. “She leveraged her public office for personal gain and got ahead at Pennsylvania’s expense.”

McGinty has fought back hard against that Republican charge, saying she’s proud of the work she has done on environmental and clean energy issues both inside and out of government.

A “fact-check” on her campaign website points to an editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that defends her moving between positions in government and private business.

“From 2008 until 2013, she was on the board of NRG Energy, a power provider that includes natural gas, coal, wind and other energy facilities in its portfolio, and in 2009, she joined the board of Iberdrola USA, a wind and natural gas firm that received a $10 million federal grant to help build a Fayette County wind farm,” the editorial states.

“Republicans say that’s evidence Ms. McGinty improperly parlayed her governmental positions into lucrative jobs for herself. … Instead, she took her environmental credentials into an industry that could benefit from having an environmental advocate on the inside.”

This story was updated on Aug. 9 at 11:54 a.m.

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