Mistake-Ridden Ad About Hedge Fund Cash Clouds Conn. Senate Race

Jul 23 2012 | 11:23am ET

Campaign contributions from hedge funds have become a central issue in the battle for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Connecticut.

Last week, Susan Bysiewicz, who is battling Rep. Chris Murphy for the nod to seek the seat currently held by the retiring Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), released an advertisement accusing Murphy of taking more "hedge fund money than any other Democrat in Congress." She also alleged that Murphy has taken more than $700,000 from Wall Street donors.

Bysiewicz says the donations are proof that Murphy is in Wall Street's pocket, criticizing him for voting against closing a hedge fund tax loophole.

The only problem is, neither accusation is true.

According to campaign finance records, Murphy has received $10,200 from hedge funds in the Senate campaign, making him 21st among all House members this year. Among Senate candidates this year, he's 37th in hedge fund money—and Bysiewicz is 41st.

In addition, Murphy has received $328,195 from Wall Street firms this year. That does indeed make him the biggest Democratic recipient of such campaign cash in the House—but not among hedge funds.

Bysiewicz has refused to pull the ad—Murphy has demanded that television stations do so themselves due to its inaccuracies—and at a Sunday debate in Bridgeport, Bysiewicz defended the spot.

"The big point about our ad is this: Chris Murphy has taken $700,000 from Wall Street," Bysiewicz said. "That is more than any other Democrat in Congress."

She did concede that "the ad is incorrect. He is number four in terms of hedge funds. He is not number one." But, of course, that claim is incorrect, as well.

Murphy's campaign suggested that Bysiewicz's had confused him with former Rep. Scott Murphy (D-N.Y.), an allegation that Bysiewicz's campaign angrily denied. But Bysiewicz's campaign manager, Jonathan Ducote, told the Hartford Courant of the ad, "obviously, the research team could have been a little more thorough."

After Sunday's debate, Murphy, who has represented northeastern Connecticut in Congress since 2007, said, "If Susan is continuing to insist on running this ad, then it reflects a denial of reality that is both sad and a little frightening."


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