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Ad Watch: Democrats' ad against Dan Lungren overreaches on 'Wall Street' claim

Published: Friday, Sep. 14, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Friday, Apr. 11, 2014 - 11:00 pm

A Democratic super PAC is airing a new television advertisement blasting Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, for ties to "Wall Street." Lungren faces a challenge from Democrat Ami Bera in the 7th Congressional District, an east Sacramento County seat that is considered one of the country's most competitive races. Here is a transcript of the ad and an analysis by Torey Van Oot of The Bee Capitol Bureau:

Narrator: What fits in your pocket? Wall Street's deep pockets can fit a whole lot more. Makes you wonder: What else is in there? Dan Lungren got $3 million in campaign cash from Wall Street and special interests and made a half million a year as a corporate lobbyist. And in Congress, Lungren voted to let Wall Street off the hook for the financial meltdown. The middle class gets nothing with Dan Lungren, but Wall Street's got him right here" (Shot of inside-out pocket).

Analysis: Paid for by House Majority PAC and Service Employees International Union, the ad is part of a broader effort to paint the incumbent Republican House members as too close to Wall Street, which is held in low regard now. It lacks context, however, and doesn't substantiate the conclusion that Lungren is a Wall Street pawn who does nothing for the middle class.

The $3 million in campaign contributions cited represents a total Lungren accepted from all political action committees – not just those with Wall Street ties – over the course of the last five congressional elections. He has received about $1 million from committees and individuals associated with the financial, insurance and real estate sectors in the same period, according to campaign finance site OpenSecrets.org.

Lungren's opponent, Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera, has received about $800,000 from PACs over the last two elections alone, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Lungren worked as a lawyer-lobbyist at Venable, LPP for 3 1/2 years between serving as state attorney general and returning to Congress in 2005. His clients included major corporations and finance-related trade associations, such as National Mitigation Bankers Association and Hilton Hotels, as well as Indian tribes, local governments and other interests. Lungren reported receiving about $500,000 in salary from the firm in a 2005 financial disclosure form he filed after winning re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 2009, Lungren voted against federal legislation aimed at enacting regulatory changes for the financial industry in the wake of the 2008 economic collapse. Many Republicans opposing the bill argued that it was too costly, would cut off access to credit and could hurt job creation.

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