Grimes Coal Ad Receives Triple Crown Of False Fact Checks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2014
Contact: Allison Moore 502-618-1372

LOUISVILLE - Team Mitch today released the following background information on Alison Lundergan Grimes earning the triple crown of false ratings from fact checkers on her latest coal attack ad.

Washington Post 

Washington Post Calls Grimes Past Attacks “Misleading And Flimsy”. “This is a fairly misleading and flimsy ad. In both instances, policies were undertaken before Chao joined the respective boards — and in any case, the boards of directors had no input in developing those policies.” (Glenn Kessler, “4 Pinocchios for a misguided ‘big money’ coal attack by Alison Grimes, Washington Post, 10/7/14)

Grimes Ad Receives Four Pinocchios. “Finally, what did McConnell have to do with of any of this? Nothing. Four Pinocchios” (Glenn Kessler, “4 Pinocchios for a misguided ‘big money’ coal attack by Alison Grimes, Washington Post, 10/7/14)

Grimes Ad Called Wells Fargo An Anti-Coal Group. “Wait a second. Well Fargo is a bank. Why does the ad call it an “anti-coal group”? The Grimes campaign justifies this on the grounds that in a 2013 report Wells Fargo said that it had been curtailing its financing of “mountain top removal” (MTR) coal operations.” (Glenn Kessler, “4 Pinocchios for a misguided ‘big money’ coal attack by Alison Grimes, Washington Post, 10/7/14)

•    Wells Fargo Currently Finances Coal Companies. “Dunn also disputed the assertion that the bank is an anti-coal group. “Given that we still finance coal companies, we would certainly not characterize ourselves as ‘anti-coal,’” she said.” (Glenn Kessler, “4 Pinocchios for a misguided ‘big money’ coal attack by Alison Grimes, Washington Post, 10/7/14)

The Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club and BankTrak’s Report Card Have Called Wells Fargo One Of Their Worst Banks For The Large Amount Of Coal Financing They Do. “The Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club and BankTrak in 2012 issued a report that ranked Wells Fargo as one of the top five worst banks on coal financing, with an overall grade of “D.” In 2013, Wells Fargo earned a “C” for mountaintop removal but retained a “D” for coal-fired power plants. And in 2014, its score for mountaintop removal improved to “B” — making it one of the first banks to earn such a rating– yet it still only earned a “D” for financing coal-fired plants.” (Glenn Kessler, “4 Pinocchios for a misguided ‘big money’ coal attack by Alison Grimes, Washington Post, 10/7/14)

Factcheck.org

For Alison Grimes To Call Wells Fargo An Anti-Coal Group Is “A Huge Stretch”. “But to call Wells Fargo an anti-coal group is a huge stretch. For one, it still lends billions to coal companies. The environmental Sierra Club gave it a “D” rating this year for its involvement in financing coal-fired power plants in 2013.” (Robert Farley, “Kentucky Coal Connections,” Factcheck.org, 10/7/14)

“So the ad’s claim that McConnell and his wife “personally took $600,000 from anti-coal groups” is tenuous indeed.” (Robert Farley, “Kentucky Coal Connections,” Factcheck.org, 10/7/14)

Alison Grimes Ad Also Uses A Doctored Photo. “And for the record, the photo in the ad that appears to show McConnell, Chao and Bloomberg hobnobbing together in formal wear was digitally altered. Here’s the original, with just McConnell and Chao.” (Robert Farley, “Kentucky Coal Connections,” Factcheck.org, 10/7/14)

Wells Fargo Provided $1.9 Billion In Financing To Coal-Fired Power Companies. “However, with regard to financing coal-fired power plants, the group gave Wells Fargo a “D” rating, and listed Wells Fargo sixth among lenders to coal-fired power plants. The report claims Wells Fargo “provided $1.9 billion in financing as a lead arranger or lead manager in transactions with coal-fired power companies.” (Robert Farley, “Kentucky Coal Connections,” Factcheck.org, 10/7/14)

Politifact

Politifact Says Grimes Coal Claim Is False, And That Grimes Has Benefited “Directly And Indirectly” From Anti-Coal Groups. “A Grimes ad claimed that "the only candidate pocketing big money from people who want to destroy coal is Mitch McConnell… Meanwhile, Grimes’ campaign has directly and indirectly benefited from money and ads from environmental groups and activists critical of coal. We rate the claim False.” (Steve Conorno, “Alison Lundergan Grimes says Mitch McConnell, not she, is taking money from anti-coal groups,” Politifact, 10/8/14)

“But there’s enough financial support from anti-coal entities that Grimes’ claim of entirely clean hands is significantly misleading.” (Steve Conorno, “Alison Lundergan Grimes says Mitch McConnell, not she, is taking money from anti-coal groups,” Politifact, 10/8/14)

Grimes Ad “Really Goes Off The Rails” When She Accuses Sen. McConnell Of Taking $600,000 From Anti-Coal Groups. “But the claim really goes off the rails when the ad says McConnell and Chao took $600,000 from anti-coal groups… So how does the Grimes campaign get to $600,000? They also count the $684,186 in fees, stock options and other compensation that Chao made while serving on the board of directors for Wells Fargo. How can a bank be anti-coal?” (Steve Conorno, “Alison Lundergan Grimes says Mitch McConnell, not she, is taking money from anti-coal groups,”Politifact, 10/8/14)

Environmental Groups “Don’t Agree” That Wells Fargo Is Anti-Coal. “Environmental groups, too, don’t agree that Wells Fargo is out to destroy coal. On the contrary, in 2012, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, and BankTrack named Wells Fargo one of the top five worst banks on coal due to "their relationship to and control over these dirty dinosaurs." (Steve Conorno, “Alison Lundergan Grimes says Mitch McConnell, not she, is taking money from anti-coal groups,” Politifact, 10/8/14)

“As it happens, Grimes’ campaign has benefited some from groups and individuals that are critical of coal use.” (Steve Conorno, “Alison Lundergan Grimes says Mitch McConnell, not she, is taking money from anti-coal groups,” Politifact, 10/8/14)

Grimes Has Received Financial Support From Leading Anti-Coal Activists. “For starters, her campaign reported a $1,000 donation from Frances Beinecke, the president of the Natural Resource Defense Council. The NRDC was instrumental in helping the Obama administration develop the new carbon regulations on existing power plants. In October 2011, Susie Tompkins Buell, the founder of the women’s clothing line Esprit and a noted climate change activist, held a fundraiser for Grimes at her California home.” (Steve Conorno, “Alison Lundergan Grimes says Mitch McConnell, not she, is taking money from anti-coal groups,” Politifact, 10/8/14)

Grimes Has Benefited From Campaign Activities From A Group That Focuses On “Fighting ‘Dirty Coal’". “Meanwhile, Grimes’ campaign has also benefited indirectly from outside groups that have helped in the ongoing ad wars in Kentucky without officially coordinating with her campaign. CREDO, a progressive organization with a campaign focused on fighting "dirty coal," has spent $35,000 to air anti-McConnell ads so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog.” (Steve Conorno, “Alison Lundergan Grimes says Mitch McConnell, not she, is taking money from anti-coal groups,” Politifact, 10/8/14)

After Receiving Millions From Tom Steyer, Senate Majority PAC Has Run Millions Of Dollars In TV Ads Benefiting Grimes. “Meanwhile, the Senate Majority PAC, a political arm of Senate Democrats, has put $4.3 million into the race. The PAC has received significant funding — about $5 million so far — from billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer.” (Steve Conorno, “Alison Lundergan Grimes says Mitch McConnell, not she, is taking money from anti-coal groups,” Politifact, 10/8/14)

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