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PoliGraph: Two hits and a miss on NRCC’s latest ad

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Another week, and another ad on the airwaves in the 8


Congressional District.

There, Republican Stewart Mills is running against incumbent DFL Rep. Rick Nolan in one of the hottest races in the country.

Mills is getting


a lot of help from National Republican Congressional Committee, which targets Nolan for being “dangerously liberal” in its newest ad.

“Nolan voted to cut funding for the fight against Al Qaeda. Veterans aren’t receiving health care, yet Nolan voted against funding the veteran’s health administration. And hardworking Minnesotans are just trying to make ends meet. Nolan voted against work requirements for welfare recipients.”

The spot gets two out of three of these claims right.

The Evidence

This ad is an ominous one. Dark music plays over blurry shots of apparent terrorists plotting their next attack, hobbled elderly veterans and workers down on their luck.

It’s meant to paint Nolan as out of touch with his constituents.

The ad focuses on three votes Nolan cast during his time in Congress, where he’s served in the minority since early 2013.

The first vote concerns the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which allowed the United States to use force against the terrorists behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks - specifically al-Qaeda - and the countries that harbored them.

Since then, the resolution has been used for any number of altercations, and now President Barack Obama is citing the language has the green light to go after ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

This June, Nolan joined a bipartisan group voting for an amendment to the Defense Department appropriations bills that would have effectively prevented the government from spending money to implement the Authorization for Use of Military of Force resolution.

Last year, Nolan was among four Democrats who voted against a funding bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs. At the time, Nolan said the vote was in protest of the fact that the bill didn’t do enough to fund health care services for vets and spent too much on military construction overseas.

Nolan’s campaign points out that he’s voted in favor of other measures that would have increased funding for new VA claims processors and increased mental health funding. Nolan also voted for legislation meant to increase rural veterans’ access to care.

The last vote featured in the ad occurred in early 2013. With most other Democrats, Nolan voted against a bill that blocked an Obama administration effort to waive a requirement that people work or try to get a job to be eligible for welfare benefits. States, including Minnesota, wanted more flexibility in implementing the assistance program.

The Verdict

Most of this ad is correct.

But PoliGraph is giving a misleading rating to the NRCC’s claims about Nolan’s record on funding the Veterans Affairs Department. In the strictest sense, Nolan voted against one funding bill – because it didn’t go far enough. In other instances, he has supported efforts to increase funding for the struggling department.