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Senate Republican campaign arm attacks Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey with misleading ad

An ad released by the National Republican Senatorial Committee claims Pennsylvania’s senior senator has been ‘caught’ in ‘scandal after scandal.’

By Josh Israel - April 12, 2023
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Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) speaks to media at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) speaks to media at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

On Monday, Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey announced he would seek reelection next November, stating, “There’s still more work to cut through the gridlock, stand up to powerful corporate special interests, and make the lives of hardworking Pennsylvanians a little bit easier.”

A day later, the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a misleading ad falsely claiming he had been “caught red-handed” in “scandal after scandal.”

The 30-second spot put out by the Senate Republicans’ official campaign arm falsely frames a series of newspaper report headlines as evidence of corruption.

First, a narrator asserts that Casey was “caught shelling out half a million dollars in campaign cash to his sister’s company.” The New York Post story cited, which questions the ethics of Casey’s financial arrangements with his sister’s company, notes that those payments were for campaign printing over almost three decades and that federal regulations allow public officials to pay family members out of campaign funds as long as the payments are made at “fair market value of the services provided.”

Next, the narrator falsely claims Casey was “caught peddling influence with his brother,” citing a February 2023 Politico report that the senator’s brother Patrick had registered as a federal lobbyist in the fall. The story made no accusation of any improper activity, instead stating that Senate ethics rules bar a senator or their staff from having “lobbying” contact with close family members. A spokesperson for Sen. Casey told Politico that his office follows that rule.

The ad concludes by alleging, “Casey even got caught investing Pennsylvania pensions in a company backed by Communist China that the Department of Defense called ‘a national security threat.'”

That allegation is sourced to a March 2023 New York Post report that as state treasurer in 2006, Casey “supervised” an investment of over $31 million by the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System in a telecom company called China Mobile. The report notes that the Trump Defense Department called the company a part of China’s “military-civil fusion national strategy” in June 2020, 14 years later, well after Casey’s tenure in state government.

The Post quotes a Casey spokesperson saying, “This story is a false attack—the investment in question was made before Bob Casey became State Treasurer in 2005.” The outlet does not make clear exactly when the investment was formalized, relying only on a series of annual reports to estimate the time frame.”

As the NRSC alleges that a 17-year-old investment in a Chinese business represents proof of corruption, its leaders are reportedly trying to recruit millionaire Connecticut-based hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick to challenge Casey next year.

McCormick, who narrowly lost to Mehmet Oz in the 2022 Republican primary for Pennsylvania’s other Senate seat, said during an event at the American Enterprise Institute in March that he had overseen investments in China while serving as the CEO of Bridgewater Associates: “We served the biggest global investors in the world, and they want access to markets all around the world. So they wanted to diversify their portfolios, including in China. … I think while I was there, like 2% of our assets were in China, but we had $160 billion, so 2% is not an insignificant amount. … I was the CEO, so whatever we did, I’m responsible for it.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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