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WAUSAU (WAOW) -
Congressman Sean Duffy has a new ad running. It makes some claims about his Democratic opponent, Pat Kreitlow.
But the ad doesn't really back up the claims, so Newsline 9 asked for some proof to find out if the ad is based on fact or fiction.
In the ad, the narrator says, "Pat Kreitlow supports bailing out Wall Street again. Kreitlow's plan props up reckless big banks with taxpayer dollars."
That claim makes Kreitlow upset.
"It's just embarrassing that a member of Congress would run an ad with a false claim, with no citation, no footnote, just frankly no evidence," said Kreitlow.
There is no source, but Duffy isn't required to have one. Neither is Kreitlow. Federal candidates have to say just one thing: "I approve this message."
Duffy may approve the message, but is it true? We asked for some proof.
The Duffy campaign says the ad references Pat Kreitlow's support for the Dodd-Frank Act. The act, which passed in 2010, focuses on financial reform, and it's gigantic.
But Duffy is focusing on just one part: a section that allows the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission to liquidate large financial companies that are about to fail. Duffy says this amounts to more taxpayer bailouts, and that Kreitlow supports that.
Does Kreitlow support the law? In an interview with Newsline 9, he didn't say yes, but he didn't say no.
"It's a step in the right direction, but both parties did a lot to water down Dodd-Frank," said Kreitlow.
On his website, Kreitlow says the law didn't go far enough. But he also makes several complaints about it, and actually says he wants to prevent taxpayer bailouts.
As for whether the law will lead to bailouts, that's still a heated debate. In an email to Newsline 9, Douglas Elliott, a Fellow in Economic Studies at the non-partisan Brookings Institution in Washington, said, "It is not clear that the new approach would ever prompt a rescue that wouldn't have occurred under prior law anyway and part of the new law's intent is to discourage such interventions."
But Elliott admits it's complicated, and that "it is certainly possible to argue that such rescues will be an unintended effect."
Duffy's campaign stands by the ad. Campaign manager Justin Richards said, "By endorsing the Dodd-Frank legislation, Pat Kreitlow supports locking taxpayers into bailing out failed big banks again."
But we can't find a ringing endorsement by Kreitlow for the Dodd-Frank Act, although he doesn't say he opposes it. And while Duffy's claim about future bailouts isn't out of the question, it's also not a guarantee.
There is a serious debate behind the issue of Dodd-Frank. But this ad's claim relating to Pat Kreitlow is misleading, especially since it's made without a source, leaving viewers to wonder where the information came from.
We asked Duffy's campaign manager why the ad didn't contain any citations. In an email, he said, "Every ad is different. We felt this ad stood on its own, but when asked for documentation, we were happy to provide it."
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