Politics & Government

Ad Watch: Democratic ad hitting Doug Ose goes too far

National Democrats are up with their first television ad in Sacramento’s heavyweight battle between Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, and former Republican congressman Doug Ose. The ad, titled “ No Wonder,” is produced by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is seeking to paint Ose as a self-interested politician who used his taxpayer-funded perch to expand his wealth.

Below is text of the ad, followed by analysis from Christopher Cadelago of The Bee Capitol Bureau.

Text: “Trips around the world, paid for by taxpayers. Voting to raise his own pay. And even voting for over 100,000 taxpayer dollars for companies he’s invested in. It’s lifestyles of former Congressman Doug Ose. The Sacramento Bee reported that Ose’s wealth ‘increased significantly’ while in Congress. Doug Ose. No wonder he wants to go back to Washington.”

Analysis: Ose, who served three terms in Congress through 2005, traveled to several foreign countries during his time in office. One trip in 2003 took him to Germany, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Italy. In 1999, he went to Panama, El Salvador, Peru, Bolivia and Mexico. The ad lists Italy, Peru and Panama.

Bera has traveled, too, including a House Foreign Affairs Committee trip to Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates.

He also traveled from Washington, D.C., to Tel Aviv, Israel, and joined other members of Congress to meet with leaders in Israel and Palestine. That trip was funded by the American Israel Education Foundation, which lobbies for pro-Israel policies.

It’s true that Ose, on Sept. 4, 2003, cast a procedural vote that effectively allowed an automatic pay raise to take place. But six days later, the congressman inserted into the official record a “personal explanation” stating that his “yes” vote should have been “no.” He has said repeatedly that the vote was a mistake.

The ad indirectly points to the farm subsidies obtained by Ose for agricultural land he owned while serving on the House Agriculture Committee.

The $100,000 figure in the ad refers to farm subsidies to companies Ose had invested in. In total, Ose accepted more than $700,000 in farm subsidies through 2004.

But he also supported legislation to protect the payments for farmers and make them unavailable for landowners like himself. The measure failed, and Ose has since refrained from receiving subsidies, repaying the roughly $4,500 he got in 2005.

It’s true that Ose, a land developer with substantial stock market investments, saw his wealth grow considerably during his time in Washington. But there’s nothing to support the ad’s suggestion that he wants to go back to Washington to enrich himself.