LITTLE ROCK, Ark.
The fight for the Democratic Senate nomination in Arkansas has turned into a name-calling match between "Bailout Blanche Lincoln" and "Dollar Bill Halter." The names are catchy, but the claims that accompany them aren't giving voters a complete picture.
Lincoln, a two-term incumbent, is targeting her chief rival's business ties and accuses him of shipping American jobs overseas as a way to make a buck. Halter, Arkansas' lieutenant governor, accuses Lincoln of breaking a promise to not accept money from banks bailed out by the federal government.
A look at the claims:
LINCOLN CAMPAIGN: Lincoln's campaign has criticized Halter's ties to a company that it says outsourced American jobs to India. One of the latest ads says: "They call him Dollar Bill Halter, and here's why. One of his companies outsourced jobs to India because of lower personnel costs."
THE FACTS: The claims center on WebMethods Inc., a company where Halter once served on the board of directors. Halter left the WebMethods board in 2006.
Although the company said it saved costs by opening a Bangalore office, it's a stretch to say the firm shipped American jobs overseas. The company said in a 2006 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had cut costs by increasing the proportion of its product development staff based in Bangalore, India. The company filings cited by Lincoln's campaign, however, do not refer to the loss of any American jobs in connection with opening the Bangalore office.
Cheryl Hawkins, spokeswoman for Software AG, which owns WebMethods, declined to comment directly on Lincoln's claims. Hawkins said the vast majority of its jobs have stayed in the United States and said the Bangalore facility was opened before Software AG acquired WebMethods.
"WebMethods then, and Software AG now, remains committed to (research and development) in the U.S. which continues to be our most important market," Hawkins said.
HALTER CAMPAIGN: Halter's campaign says Lincoln broke a promise that she would not take money from institutions that received bailout funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Halter points to $4,500 Lincoln received from Goldman Sachs' political action committee since Jan. 1, 2009.
Halter's campaign focused on the bailout pledge after the federal government brought civil fraud charges against Goldman Sachs. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges Friday against Goldman Sachs, claiming the New York bank misled investors about the risks surrounding securities backed by subprime mortgages it managed.
Halter's campaign has made the claims in news releases and on a website referring to Lincoln as "Bailout Blanche."
THE FACTS: Halter's campaign says Lincoln broke her pledge to no longer accept contributions from firms that received bailout funds. But Halter's campaign is ignoring a major condition of that promise.
In a memo dated Sept. 7, 2009, and posted on the Lincoln campaign Web site, campaign manager Steve Patterson said the campaign would not accept contributions from TARP-assisted firms. Patterson, however, said in the memo that that pledge only applied to firms that had not repaid their bailout money to the federal government.
At the time, the campaign identified 36 companies that had paid back their bailout funds. They included Goldman Sachs, which had paid back its bailout funds in June of that year.
"The campaign has determined that it may now solicit and receive campaign funds within the set limits imposed by the Federal Election Commission for Senator Lincoln's 2010 re-election from the executives, employees and Political Action Committees associated with the 36 companies that have refunded their bailout funds as of the date of this memo," Patterson wrote in the memo.