Mysterious robocall attacks Mongiardo on coal

05/15/2010 12:03 PM

Some Democratic voters in Eastern and Western Kentucky reported receiving an automated phone call accusing U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Mongiardo of having “sold out coal country” and backing the federal cap-and-trade bill.

The robocall claims to have “Mongiardo’s own words” saying that the cap-and-trade bill was “a good idea.” But the audio in which Mongiardo supposedly says that includes a jumbled part that undermines its authenticity.

Kim Geveden, Mongiardo’s spokesman, said it is doctored audio and that Mongiardo, the lieutenant governor, has been a steadfast supporter of the coal industry and a critic of the bill aimed at curbing industries’ emissions of greenhouse gasses by using economic limits.

But the robocall, which doesn’t include a standard disclaimer identifiying the group that paid for and made the calls, says Mongiardo told a group of “liberal environmentalists” that the cap-and-trade bill was a good idea. Listen to the Robocall.

The mysterious call starts by saying, “Please listen to this breaking news. Daniel Mongiardo has sold out coal country and the people of East Kentucky for campaign cash.”

Geveden said the Mongiardo campaign plans to file a complaint about the call to the Federal Election Commission and will include the campaign of Jack Conway, Mongiardo’s chief rival in the Democratic primary, in the complaint.

Allison Haley, spokeswoman for Conway, said the Conway campaign wasn’t aware of the call until alerted by reporters.

“I can categorically deny that that’s ours,” she said. “It’s not a claim we’re even making.”

Conway has been far less critical of the cap-and-trade legislation than Mongiardo and has said some provisions of it can be helpful.

Mysterious unclaimed robocalls aren’t new in Kentucky. A flury of them went out in the waning days of the fall 2007 governor’s race, for instance, aimed at Democratic candidate Steve Beshear and his runningmate, Mongiardo.

- Ryan Alessi

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