Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Politics

Jolly, Peters trade charges in U.S. House primary

The two favored GOP candidates in the shortened campaign for the late C.W. Bill Young's U.S. House seat have taken a few shortcuts in their campaign rhetoric, too.

Young's heir apparent, former lobbyist David Jolly, and state Rep. Kathleen Peters have unloaded on each other ahead of the Republican primary Tuesday, questioning each other's platforms, backgrounds and honesty. (Candidate Mark Bircher, a retired Marine, has yet to unleash a direct attack on either.)

Peters very quickly brought up Jolly's past as a Washington lobbyist, pointing out he had "given almost $30,000 to keep Democrats in Congress" in a campaign mailer to voters. That was Mostly True, as Jolly had spent a few years working with multiple congressional politicians, but the flier doesn't mention he had given even more to Republicans.

Jolly was the first to paint Peters as a waffler, saying in his own mailer that the onetime mayor of South Pasadena refused to "take a stand" and demand the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a law that many Republicans want taken off the books completely.

We rated that Mostly False, because Peters had consistently said she didn't support the law, although she wanted to keep specific portions of it, such as not allowing insurance companies to discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions. She's since been very sure to use "repeal" in every statement.

In response, Peters held a news conference a few days later to announce Jolly had lobbied "for government-run health care just last year." Peters had found that Jolly had worked for a Virginia company called Faneuil, Inc., which in 2013 opened an Obamacare health exchange call center in Washington state. She first implied he had been lobbying for the call center, then softened her tack to say that since he was being paid by Faneuil, he was making money from Obamacare.

Jolly was never registered in the state of Washington (he says he was lobbying for "transportation interests" in Florida — a plausible explanation because Faneuil helps the state operate the tollbooth system), and the company denied he was involved in Affordable Care Act projects. We rated this one False for a lack of proof.

National Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, endorsed Jolly in the race and said Peters "has a 100 percent pro-abortion voting record — even voting against a ban on sex-selection abortions."

But Peters only voted on three pieces of legislation even remotely connected to abortion. She did vote "no" on banning sex-selection abortions, and another "no" came for a bill that made killing a fetus while committing a crime against a pregnant woman a separate offense. Neither of those bills passed.

The third bill National Right to Life cited was a "yes" vote on a law requiring doctors to take emergency measures to save a child born after a failed attempt to abort it. The group said her "yes" vote, which is what the group advocated, didn't matter because she wasn't one of the bill's 25 co-sponsors. That dubious logic still made her voting record on the issues as National Right to Life described them 66 percent, not 100. Overall, we rated the group's statement Half True.

Peters later boasted in another of her campaign mailers that while she was mayor of South Pasadena, the city "actually reduced the property taxes we collected."

The problem is, the reason tax collections were down is because her 2009-2012 term coincided with the worst effects of the Great Recession. Not only did Peters preside over a $215 million loss in taxable property values, the South Pasadena City Commission raised the city's millage twice in her tenure. That earned her claim a Mostly False.

Jolly's lobbying record returned after he told an audience at a Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce forum on Jan. 6 that he had "never lobbied for offshore oil drilling." He later admitted he had done some 2011 lobbying work for a group called Free Enterprise Nation, which supported an energy bill that promoted expanded drilling, and that he had been in a meeting in which the bill was discussed. But he insisted he didn't lobby for that legislation.

Strict definitions of lobbying rules spell out that as being enough. Any sort of communication about a subject can technically be defined as taking part in the lobbying process. We can't know the truth of his intent, but his explanation that he was "overcomplying" seemed suspect to lobbying researchers we asked. We ruled that one Mostly False.

Comments
St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

The 2017 St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race was celebrated as more than a competitive regatta to Cuba’s capital city of Havana.The relaunch of the maritime competition cancelled since 1959 was hailed as a reflection of the detente started under Preside...
Published: 02/20/18
Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Associated PressST. PETERSBURG, Russia — While Russian officials scoff at a U.S. indictment charging 13 Russians with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, several people who worked at the same St. Petersburg, Russia, "troll factory" say t...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Associated PressWEST PALM BEACH — From the confines of his Mar-a-Lago golf club, President Donald Trump offered support Monday for a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases while staying largely mum in the past few days ab...
Updated: 9 hours ago
For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a ‘reprieve’ from scandals

For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a ‘reprieve’ from scandals

The White House was under siege.Domestic abuse allegations against a senior aide were ignored, pointing to a potential high-level coverup. Two Cabinet secretaries were caught chargin taxpayers for luxury travel. A Playboy centerfold alleged an extram...
Published: 02/19/18
President Trump expresses support for senators’ gun bill

President Trump expresses support for senators’ gun bill

President Donald Trump signaled support for one piece of gun control legislation on Monday, five days after a mass shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead and scores injured."The president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal...
Published: 02/19/18
Do Trump’s alleged affairs even matter?

Do Trump’s alleged affairs even matter?

One of the quotes from the 2016 presidential campaign that has stuck with me came from an unidentified Donald Trump supporter who shared his appraisal of the "Access Hollywood" tape on an episode of Showtime’s "The Circus."Having heard Trump boast on...
Published: 02/18/18
Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

PARKLAND, Fla. — Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger Sunday at President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive. "You're the president. You're supposed t...
Published: 02/18/18
Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

MUNICH — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Saturday there was "incontrovertible" evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election, a blunt statement that shows how significantly the new criminal charges leveled by an...
Published: 02/17/18
Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style fi...
Published: 02/17/18
Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — A red heart-shaped balloon rose above crowd of several hundred people that had gathered at Williams Park on Saturday evening to mourn Wednesday’s school shooting in Broward County and to protest gun violence.Below the balloon, signs ...
Published: 02/17/18