2 min read
Posted on 05.28.11
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 05.28.11

Some of you may have seen a television and Internet ad accusing US Senator Claire McCaskill of endangering children's lives by voting to allow asthma-causing emissions to be released from plant smokestacks and car tailpipes. It is a particularly effective ad to run against a Democratic candidate standing for reelection next year. It is also not true.

The ad pins its attack on McCaskill's vote for amendment number 215, which would have suspended for two years any EPA actions "with respect to carbon dioxide or methane pursuant to certain proceedings, other than with respect to motor vehicle emissions." Had the amendment passed (which it did not), nothing would have changed in regard to the common smokestack and tailpipe pollutants specifically covered by the Clean Air Act and having clear connections to asthma. By suggesting that it did, the ad deceives its viewers.

One fact about the ad is clear. It was paid for by the League of Women Voters. Who paid the League of Women Voters to run the ad is less clear, because that organization has (inexplicably to me and to many other LWV supporters) chosen to hide behind the same sort of law that protects the donors to groups that run scurrilous ads impugning the character, patriotism, or natural citizenship of elected officials they oppose. That is bad company in which to find the League.

The League of Women Voters of St. Louis and the League of Women Voters of Missouri have not, to my knowledge, commented about this ad and about their parent group's decision not to disclose donors' names. That is a silence that they ought to break. Organizations focused on honest debate and transparency break our trust in them when the ads they run are deceitful and their funding is opaque.