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Republican Vern Buchanan’s ad takes deceptive tactics to a new low

An incredibly sleazy and dishonest tactic.

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) speaking in 2015.
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) speaking in 2015. CREDIT: Buchanan's Facebook page.

Last month, Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) launched an ad attacking a Democratic challenger for owning stocks in or index funds containing certain energy, pharmaceutical, and weapons companies. The ads accused David Shapiro, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in today’s Florida primary, of being “two-faced” and hypocritical. Now Buchanan is pretending news articles covering that ad is evidence of its claims.

As ThinkProgress reported, the July ad revealed Buchanan’s own hypocrisy. A review of the incumbent’s own personal financial disclosures found that Buchanan owned thousands of dollars’ worth of mutual funds that were invested in many of the same companies. And with a lifetime League of Conservation Voters score of just 19 percent and a long history of taking money and endorsements from the National Rifle Association, Buchanan’s sudden concern about gun violence and the environment hardly match his record.

This month, he launched a new ad, indirectly citing his first ad’s claim — mentioned in that ThinkProgress story — as proof of the claim. The original story said: “The ad claims that Shapiro owns stock in “two companies responsible for the Gulf Oil spill” (Transocean and Halliburton), “drugmakers accused of fueling” the opiate epidemic (Johnson & Johnson), and “companies that make assault weapons and cop-killer bullets” (Savage Arms).”

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Buchanan’s campaign took this totally out of context in the new spot, including as an example of “What they’re saying about Sneaky David Shaprio,”  the words “‘…Shapiro owns stock in two companies responsible for the Gulf Oil spill’ – Think Progress,” alongside an image of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon fire. This sneaky move leads the viewer to believe that the report was the source of that claim.

Buchanan, who is currently seeking a seventh term, was once named one of CREW’s Most Corrupt Members of Congress and has come under fire in recent months for purchasing a yacht on the same day he voted to lower his own taxes. His latest ads make no mention of either of those details.