A super PAC closely linked to Speaker Paul Ryan is blowing millions to cling to the House. Their latest ad in Ohio, attacking a Democrat, was caught peddling a series of lies.
Paul Ryan's favorite super PAC has been caught fabricating claims against Danny O’Connor, the Democratic candidate for Ohio's 12th Congressional District, as Republicans desperately try to avoid losing control of the House in the fall election.
The super PAC, called the Congressional Leadership Fund, is broadcasting the ad on cable and broadcast television in Central Ohio. But the claims are made up.
The ad accuses O'Connor of skipping "nearly half the meetings we paid him to attend" in his role as Recorder on the Franklin County Automatic Data Processing Board.
But the Columbus Dispatch checked the ad's allegations, and they don't hold water. The Dispatch notes that after reviewing the minutes of the meetings of the data processing board, it found "O’Connor or a surrogate did attend every meeting."
The paper spoke to Melissa Messina-Lanthorn, chief of staff for the Franklin County Recorder’s office, who explained state law requires that either O'Connor or a representative of his office attend meetings. And they did.
The ad, which is based on a story from the right-wing Free Beacon (recently seen defending corrupt Trump EPA chief Scott Pruitt), also alleges that O'Connor hired a crony to serve as director of operations.
But Messina-Lanthorn told the Dispatch that the interview process involved some 30 people, and that the eventual hire made the office more responsive. Before he was brought on, the office was two and a half weeks behind on work, now they respond to filings within two days.
"The idea that he was a crony or somehow unqualified for the role I would say is laughable," she said.
Simultaneously, the ad from Ryan's super PAC engages in Trump-style name-calling by referring to the candidate as "Dishonest Danny," and intercuts footage of O'Connor with Nancy Pelosi.
For years, Republican campaigns have used ads with Pelosi's image as a vehicle to attack Democratic candidates.
The outgoing Ryan is desperate to keep the House in Republican hands, and he likely fears that the legacy of his tenure will merely be returning the House to a Democratic majority.
The super PAC he's most closely linked to plans to use $100 million to smear and attack Democrats before the fall election to achieve his goal. That means more ads like the ones targeting O'Connor, which are filled with lies and falsehoods.
O'Connor's campaign in a key district clearly threatens Ryan and his lock on power. Being aligned with underhanded tactics like that of the Congressional Leadership fund is an invitation for more voters to deliver a referendum on him and his party.