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0000017b-35e5-df5e-a97b-35edaf330000Michigan Radio is covering the major candidates and issues for the upcoming election. Scroll below to find stories and resources that will help inform your vote.And NPR is having an election night party complete with the latest national results. Head on over the NPR Election Party now!

Truth Squad calls "fouls" on 4th Congressional District TV ads

Bridge magazine’s Truth Squad has been reviewing political TV ads in Michigan’s Fourth Congressional District Republican primary.

Paul Mitchell’s campaign ran an attack ad against Sen. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, which included this claim:

“Sen. Moolenaar voted to create the Michigan Obamacare Medicaid exchange and led efforts to pass the budget that expanded Medicaid and funded Obamacare, driving insurance premiums up and costing taxpayers more than $1 billion this year.”

The Truth Squad found that statement was problematic. Ron French is with the group.

“The idea that it is costing taxpayers $1 billion is at best misleading.” 

He says Moolenaar voted for an agency budget that included federal dollars for Medicaid coverage, but that's not what the Mitchell ad insinuates.

Michigan legislators are not funding Obamacare. There is no state money involved. They voted for a Michigan Department of Community Health budget that included the use of $1 billion in federal funds for the expansion of Medicaid. You could argue taxes are taxes, but Ron French says the Truth Squad ruled the ad was misleading and crossed a line. Moolenaar voted against expansion of Medicaid in 2011 and 2013.

“So, we called this a “foul,” French declared.

The Moolenaar campaign also took a hit from the Truth Squad.

It ran a Mitchell attack ad.

“Mitchell gave big bucks to liberal Debbie Stabenow, the deciding vote to create Obamacare. Then Mitchell took 100 grand from Obama’s stimulus. Paul Mitchell, lining his pockets with Obama stimulus.”

The Truth Squad says it’s true Paul Mitchell made two $250 donations to Debbie Stabenow, but as a businessman, Mitchell gave campaign donations to different candidates. And Stabenow was no more the deciding vote than the other 59 senators who voted for it. Ron French says the claim that Mitchell pocketed Obama stimulus money is more troubling.

“Well, that claim comes from the fact that Paul Mitchell used to be CEO of an education company that trains medical technicians. This stimulus money which came in the depths of the recession was money that was allotted for displaced workers to be retrained,” French explained.

So, Mitchell didn’t line his pockets with stimulus money. He ran a business where students got to go to school because of stimulus money.

“This was something that was tuition money for displaced workers. It wasn’t money that was going into Mitchell’s pockets directly. We find it was way over the line and we called that ad a ‘foul’ also,” French said.

John Moolenaar and Paul Mitchell are the only candidates in the Republican primary in the Fourth Congressional District running TV ads. Peter Konetchy does not have the kind of campaign cash it takes to run a TV blitz.

Correction: An earlier version was not clear about Senator Moolenaar's votes on Medicaid expansion. He voted in 2011 and 2013 to block Medicaid expansion in Michigan.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.