RGA defends Matt Bevin on tax claims in latest campaign ad

09/08/2015 11:42 AM

The Republican Governors Association has returned to the airwaves in Kentucky in defense of Matt Bevin’s tax record.

The ad, released Tuesday, seeks to characterize Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway as misrepresenting the facts behind Bevin’s tax delinquencies — a point raised by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and his allies in the 2014 GOP primary for Senate.

“Jack Conway is playing fast and loose again. Matt Bevin did pay the taxes,” a narrator in the ad says.

The ad is split into half defensive mechanism, and half positive spot featuring Kentuckians speaking on behalf of Bevin’s family bell business in East Hampton, Connecticut.

The tax comments have become familiar fodder for politicians running against Bevin.

Here’s a review of what Pure Politics has published previously on the tax claims:

FactCheck.org and others have also reported that Bevin’s late property tax payments on a Maine vacation home was the fault of a new mortgage company, with $6,244 in back taxes paid in full by February 2009.

However, WAVE-TV reported in June that Bevin had paid $1,006 in interest and fees for four late property tax payments on the Maine residence from 2002 through 2008 and $99 in interest and fees on six late property tax payments for an undeveloped lot in Louisiana from 2004 through 2010. In July, the news station reported that another Bevin company, Integrity Holdings, had paid $670 in interest and late fees for late property tax payments since 2009.

In response to both WAVE-TV pieces, Bevin’s campaign did not dispute the fees and penalties, but rather blamed Conway, and the Kentucky Democratic Party in July, for attempting to distract voters.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, noted that the $100,000 state grant used to restore Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Co., the family bell-making facility, after it was destroyed by fire in 2012 came months after Bevin fully rectified the business’ tax issues. He had taken a more prominent role with the bell manufacturer in 2008 after his uncle, the former owner, had fallen into poor health, according to the report.

RGA Communications Director Jon Thompson says the attacks against Bevin are a smoke screen from Conway.

“Jack Conway is a career politician who will say or do anything to mislead voters from his disastrous record as an Obama liberal,” Thompson said in a press release. “However, the facts speak for themselves.

“Matt Bevin knows what it takes to build a business and create jobs. That’s exactly the type of leadership that Kentuckians deserve and what Matt Bevin will bring with him to Frankfort when he is elected governor.”

David Bergstein of the Kentucky Democratic Party responded to the ad saying the RGA resorted to creating a fake headline to sell their ad to voters, and again called on Bevin to release his tax returns.

“It’s telling that Matt Bevin’s East Coast allies had to invent a headline for this ad, but here are the facts: Bevin repeatedly failed to pay his taxes, and then he looked Kentuckians in the eye and lied about it, just like he lies about everything else,” Bergstein said in a statement to Pure Politics. “If Bevin’s East Coast backers are so worried about his taxes, they should join our call to have Bevin release his tax returns — just like past Republican and Democratic gubernatorial nominees have.

“Here’s the bottom line: no amount of desperate ads can distract from the fact that Bevin is an ‘East Coast Con Man’ who doesn’t tell the truth about his chronic tax delinquencies and his positions on critical issues — like his opposition to early childhood education.”

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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