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Fact Check: Richard Hanna, Claudia Tenney Campaign Ads

Photo Credit: Viktor Vector , Thinkstock / Townsquare Media (Red and Blue Background) and Kristine Bellino (Claudia Tenney and Richard Hanna)

The two candidates vying for the GOP line for New York’s 22nd Congressional district are jabbing each other in radio and television ads which recently began airing across the district.

However, the ads for both incumbent Richard Hanna and primary challenger Claudia Tenney are in many ways misleading.

WIBX 950 fact checked each of the claims the candidates make in their respective ads, about one another and about themselves.

Here’s what we found:

Claudia Tenney’s commercial claims:

Tenney states she is the top rated conservative in New York

FACTS: In 2011, Tenney shared the honor of having the highest ranking by the Conservative Party of New York State among all members of the New York State Senate and Assembly. She and Republican Don Miller (121st district) each scored 92%. In 2012, CPNYS.org rated Tenney at just 70% with several members ranking above her. In 2013, Tenney – and four other members of the New York legislature – scored a 96%. This is her highest ranking to date, however, it was not the top ranking among NY legislators. Two Assemblymen, Kieran Lalor and Bill Nojay – each scored 100.

Hanna voted to fund ObamaCare, citing H.J. 59, vote 498

FACTS: Hanna has voted to defund ObamaCare dozens of times. On this vote, he did not actually vote FOR funding Obamacare. He was, though, one of just two Republicans in the House to vote ‘No’ on this joint resolution to concur with a Senate amendment that would ‘permanently repeal the ObamaCare medical device tax.’ In other words, he voted not to repeal the medical device tax in ObamaCare. Details here.

Hanna voted to raise taxes and add trillions in new debt, citing H.R. 8 vote 659

FACTS: Hanna has voted for federal budgets and to increase the debt limit which have a negative impact on the deficit, to the tune of trillions of dollars. In the ad, Tenney also says Hanna voted to raise taxes, specifically mentioning H.R. vote 659 on her website. This was a package called the American Taxpayer and Relief Act. It was to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, which were expiring, for 99 percent of Americans. Also set to expire was 2010′s two percent reduction in the payroll tax. The ATRA did not extend this relief. You may remember at the start of 2013 your paycheck was adjusted and were taking home less that you did in 2012. This was that bill. (USA.gov has more detail on what the American Taxpayer and Relief Act actually did and follow the link to see how it affected)

Hanna voted to fund late term abortion, citing H.R. 7 vote 30

FACTS:  This was not a vote FOR by Hanna. Instead he was the only Republican in the House of Representatives to vote ‘No’ on this measure which would have gone a step beyond the Hyde Amendment, he said. ”This legislation goes beyond the Hyde Amendment to create financial penalties, red tape and paperwork requirements.  These are new government barriers for small businesses and individuals who would choose to provide their employees or themselves with health plans that include abortion coverage.  I continue to oppose spending federal tax dollars on abortion, but this legislation goes too far in finding new ways to insert government influence into personal and employer health care decisions best left to families and consumers,” Hanna posted on his Facebook page in explaining his vote.

Hanna is the 3rd most liberal Republican in Congress

FACTS: On Tenney’s campaign website, she cites the ranking based on the American Conservative Union‘s lifetime ratings of each current member of congress. The statement is based on the lowest conservative scores of all Republican members in the House and Senate. Her logic: the lower your conservative score, the more liberal you are. By that rating, Hanna actually scores the sixth lowest of all GOP members of congress. ACU conservative rankings for Republicans in congress from the bottom:

  • Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) – 40
  • Rep. Christopher Gibson (R-NY) – 42.67
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R- ME) – 47.62
  • Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) – 47.76
  • Patrick Meehan (R-PA) – 49.33
  • Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) 50.67

Correction: Mike Rudin of Shirely and Banister Public Affairs contact WIBX to say that due to a negligible and unintentional mistake, Tenney’s website attributed Hanna’s ranking as the 3rd most liberal Republican to ACU instead of the National Journal. They provided the following link:

Documentation from National Journal provided by Tenney Campaign

Hanna voted against 2nd Amendment Rights

FACTS: WIBX was unable to determine which vote(s) Tenney was referring to. She directed us to the Gun Owners of America website. The website gives Hanna a rating of ‘A’, which the site defines as: A & A- Pro-Gun Voter: philosophically sound. On the gun issue, Hanna was recently endorsed by the NRA, despite having a lower score than Tenney. The National Rifle Association scored Hanna at 92, and Tenney at 100 (via project Vote Smart).

Hanna told women give their money to Democrats

FACTS: Speaking at a rally in support of the Equal Rights Amendment, Hanna did tell the crowd, as reported by the Huffington Post:

“I think these are very precarious times for women, it seems. So many of your rights are under assault,” he told the crowd of mostly women. “I’ll tell you this: Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side — my side — has a lot of it. And you need to send your own message. You need to remind people that you vote, you matter, and that they can’t succeed without your help.”

Richard Hanna’s commercial claims:

 Tenney was the only local Republican to vote against at $1.5 billion property tax cut

FACTS: Tenney voted against the 2014-15 New York State budget bill. In other words, she did not vote directly against the property tax cut. Rather she voted down the entire spending plan, which included the $1.5 billion overall reduction.

Voted for higher energy taxes

FACTS: Same as above. This was not a vote FOR higher energy costs/taxes. This plan was included in the overall 2014-15 New York State budget package, which she voted against.

Hanna says he received an ‘A’ rating and the endorsement of the NRA

FACTS: The NRA’s website has a page dedicated to highlighting candidates in ‘upcoming elections’. It does not include info for the Hanna – Tenney primary, nor does it include info for any other races in New York Sate. Via rankings found at Project Vote Smart (votesmart.org) you can find the NRA’s number grades. On that page (follow votesmart.org link) you’ll find Tenney scored 100 to Hanna’s score of 92, however, the NRA has officially endorsed Hanna’s bid for re-election.

Tenney has sponsored special interest earmark spending

FACTS: Hanna’s campaign website lists two Assembly bill numbers in which Tenney has sponsored the so-called ‘special interest earmark spending’. The first dealt with flood mitigation funding for an area that is often hit with flooding. The other, authorized the payment of funding to the Little Falls School District, for which the district was already ‘entitled’ to. Here’s the official language of both bills:

  • A03294 – Makes an appropriation to the Sauquoit Creek Basin Intermunicipal Commission for the purposes of flood mitigation and stream bank restoration.
  • A09069 – Authorizes the commissioner of education to make a payment for the allotted balance of state aid to which the city school district of the city of Little Falls is entitled for a debt service payment for school building purposes.

Hanna says he’s voted repeal ObamaCare 48 times

FACTS: This statement appears to be accurate based on our research. WIBX was able to locate at least 43 votes in which Hanna have voted against, or to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a ObamaCare.

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