New CD1 ad accuses Kirkpatrick of overspending on staff (update)

2012-09-24T12:30:00Z 2012-09-25T12:04:34Z New CD1 ad accuses Kirkpatrick of overspending on staff (update)Tim Steller, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 24, 2012 12:30 pm  • 

(Updated below with a response from Kirkpatrick's spokeswoman, Jennifer Johnson)

The National Republican Congressional Committee issued a new ad today against Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in the District 1 race. 

In it, the NRCC questions Kirkpatrick's assertion in her earlier ad that she cut her own pay by 5 percent. After the sound of a needle scratching across a record (when will that sound finally go the way of the record player?) the ad makes a couple of accusations against Kirkpatrick:

• "After Ann Kirkpatrick lost re-election, she snuck three campaign aides onto her congressional payroll."

• Then, it says, "she doled out $100,000 to staff her last two days in office."

Both claims are based on this June 11, 2011 Arizona Republic story, although the Republic's verb is "hired" not "snuck." The story focuses on the fact that Kirkpatrick and defeated U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell each spent more than all but two other departing House members in the final days of their terms.

As to the 5 percent pay cut, Kirkpatrick failed to get any action on a bill to cut congressional pay, so she symbolically cut her own pay by $8,700.

In an email, Kirkpatrick spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson said, "The fact is, Ann cut her own pay in Congress, and at the end of her term, her office returned more than $100,000 in unused funds back to the Treasury. The office employees were paid for their long hours, hard work and accrued leave."

Counting a $202,531 media buy reported on Friday, the NRCC has spent about $700,000 in the CD1 general election campaign. The group had previously pledged $900,000 to help Republican Jonathan Paton. 

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