CongressElection 2018News

Ads blast Coffman tax vote after Paul Ryan deletes tweet cheering $1.50 tax break

Author: Ernest Luning - February 6, 2018 - Updated: February 7, 2018

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“A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week … she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year,” House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted and subsequently deleted on Saturday, Feb. 3, linking to an Associated Press story. (Screenshot via Twitter)

National Democrats launched digital ads Monday tying Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman to a tweet posted by House Speaker Paul Ryan touting a $1.50-a-week tax break enjoyed by a secretary in the wake of the massive tax overhaul passed by the Republican Congress late last year.

It’s part of a Facebook ad campaign targeting 50 House Republicans considered vulnerable by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a spokeswoman for the organization told Colorado Politics. The DCCC also pointed to a website called PaulRyansBuckFifty.com that features videos uploaded by people who are unhappy with the tax legislation.

Soon after he tweeted Saturday night about a Pennsylvania woman who was reportedly “pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week” — enough to buy an annual Costco membership — Ryan deleted the tweet in the face of ridicule from critics who contended the extra pay didn’t amount to much.

“Speaker Paul Ryan just BRAGGED about a secretary getting a $1.50 tax cut from his tax scam,” the DCCC’s Facebook ad reads. “By comparison, he’s handing the richest 1-percent $1,000 PER WEEK! Hardworking Americans deserve to keep MUCH more of their paychecks. Mike Coffman and Paul Ryan can’t hide that the #GOPTaxScam puts the middle class dead last.”

The DCCC didn’t say how much it was spending on the ad buy was or how long it would last.

Pointing to polling that shows Ryan’s approval ratings in the dumps in key swing districts, the DCCC has been attempting to link the Wisconsin lawmaker to GOP House members in the run-up to the election, the same way Republicans — including Coffman and his campaign team — have tied his Democratic challengers to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Speaker Ryan laid out his priorities in the Republican Tax Scam, and he really couldn’t be more out-of-touch with middle and low income Americans,” said DCCC regional spokeswoman Rachel Irwin in a statement.

“The Republican Tax Scam is a shameless handout to the rich and largest corporations at the expense of the middle-class families who deserve more money in their pockets and lower healthcare costs. Luckily, voters recognize Ryan’s disdain for the American worker and his devotion instead to the special interests, and they stand ready to voice their opposition to his agenda in the midterms.”

A Coffman campaign spokesman rejected the DCCC ad campaign.

“While DC Democrats play games on Facebook attacking Tweets, the average family of four in the 6th District will save nearly $2,400 from tax reform,” Coffman campaign advisor Tyler Sandberg told Colorado Politics. “That kind of savings will mean a great deal to working families, so it’s no wonder Democrats are doing their best to distract voters from that truth. And seeing that recent polling has shown a serious uptick in support for tax reform, their lame attempt to lie about tax reform makes a lot more sense.”

The Republican tax proposal was historically unpopular with voters in December but has gained support since, according to a number of polls.

Last month, after a left-leaning PAC announced it was spending six figures on digital ads attacking Coffman’s vote on the tax bill — considered last year’s crowning achievement by congressional Republicans — Sandberg swung back equally hard.

“Yet another left-wing attack ad based on an outright lie,” Sandberg said. “Tax reform is putting more money in the hands of hard working Coloradans right away through lower tax rates, in addition to companies across Colorado and the country boosting pay in response to passage of the tax bill. It’s sad, but not surprising, that a DC PAC designed to do Democrats’ dirty work can’t get its facts straight.”

Coffman had earlier applauded the results of the tax legislation, calling its changes “pro-family, pro-growth, and pro-higher wages for hard working families” while pointing to a list of companies announcing bonuses and pay increases for their employees in response to the bill’s enactment.

Four Democrats and one Republican are running against Coffman, who has represented the battleground 6th Congressional District since 2009.

This post has been updated with a comment from a Coffman campaign spokesman about the latest round of DCCC ads.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.