TRUTH TEST: Ad Targets Radinovich's Court Record, Unpaid Fines

October 17, 2018 11:03 AM

Minnesota's 8th Congressional District will likely be flooded with special interest money from outside the state in the lead-up to November's election.

And there's evidence the flood is already underway.


A new TV ad from the conservative "Congressional Leadership Fund" targets Democratic candidate Joe Radinovich, a former member of the Minnesota House.

RELATED: TRUTH TEST: Conservative PAC Attacks Tina Smith's Record

"Joe Radinovich votes to raise our taxes, but refuses to pay his own bills," the ad's narrator says over pictures of the Minnesota State Capitol where Radinovich served in the House in 2013 and 2014.

"Radinovich voted for a $2 billion tax hike," the ad continues. "Hurting working families."

It is true Radinovich voted for the "Omnibus Tax Bill" in 2013 that increase income taxes on Minnesota's highest earners by $1.1 billion dollars.

The bill also increased the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products by $430 million, closed $400 million worth of corporate tax loopholes and increased taxes on some estates by $80 million.

However, it's an opinion to say the bill hurt "working families" because it doesn't define what that means or give the statement any context.

How KSTP Grades Political Ads in Truth Test

At the end of every "Truth Test," 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and assign the tested political ad a grade.

Here's the criteria we use to determine that grade:

- An "A" requires nearly complete accuracy with little exaggeration and little or no need for more context.

- A "B" requires mostly accurate information, but gets marked down for minor exaggerations and misleading information.

- A "C" can be the result of inaccurate information or exaggerated information that misleads and gives the viewer no context.

- A "D" is the result of at least half the information being false or misleading to the point of leaving a false impression.

- An "F" is the result of more than half the information being outright false as well as misleading and out of context.

The ad draws a contrast to his vote to raise taxes by saying "but Radinovich was cited more than 30 times for not paying court fines."

This is mostly true, but incorrectly worded.

Minnesota judicial records do show Radinovich has been cited for 31 traffic offenses between 2004 and 2018, with fines ranging from $32 to $306.

KSTP 2018 Election Page

In all, he's faced fines totaling $2,801 for offenses ranging from speeding to parking violations to failure to show proof of insurance to driving after revocation.

The ad doesn't mention it, but court records show Radinovich's driver's license has been suspended or revoked four times, including in March of this year. It was reinstated four days later in early April.

The ad also says Radinovich often failed to pay his fines on time.

"And after refusing to pay his bills, Radinovich was turned over to a collection agency eight times," according to the ad.

This also appears to be true, according to court records. Hennepin County turned Radinovich's fines over to a collection agency eight times between 2013 and 2018.

Three of the fines totaling $225 weren't paid until today, according to the state judicial database. They were paid by a collection agency.

A spokesperson for the Radinovich campaign downplayed the significance of the candidate's court record.

"These 'court fees' are primarily parking tickets and a few speeding tickets going back over a decade," deputy campaign manager Jordan Hagert said in a statement sent via text message.

"Our understanding is they have all been paid, most of them long ago."

The statement goes on to criticize "outside groups" for talking about "parking tickets" rather than issues like affordable health care, Social Security and "removing the corrosive influence of dark money in our political system."

Send links to political ads you come across by using this online form.

The Congressional Leadership Fund is a political action committee "dedicated" to "protecting the Republican majority" in the U.S. House. The CLF spent $11.1 million in 2014 and more than $33 million in 2016.

Their ad gets an A- on the 5 Eyewitness News "Truth Test."


Tom Hauser

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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