Once again, Sarah Steelman’s campaign has launched a deceptive and utterly false attack on John Brunner. True to form as the career politician that she is, Sarah Steelman plays fast and loose with her attacks — citing opinion, making untrue statements, providing incorrect citations, and refusing to own up to her own inconsistent and unreliable record.
Every single reference to John Brunner in Sarah Steelman’s ad is either factually false, improperly cited or both. While comparison advertisements based on factual voting records and contemporaneous — and correctly cited — news sources are commonplace and expected in political advertising, Steelman's newest ad sloppily distorts the truth in a reckless and utterly irresponsible manner.
John Brunner refuted Steelman's claims on the Nick Reed Program on 104.1 FM KSGF Tuesday morning.
Steelman's claims are refuted by the facts provided below:
Citing a St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial, STEELMAN CLAIMS: "John Brunner's negative ad crosses the line from disingenuous to dishonest."
FACT 1: Steelman's ad quotes an opinion by the St. Louis Post Dispatch editorial board — an opinion that lacks any factual basis.
FACT 2: The Brunner campaign has provided extensive back-up documentation for every claim made in the campaign's paid advertising and made that documentation public on both SteelmanFacts.comand AkinFacts.com. This documentation includes the actual votes cast by Sarah Steelman and Todd Akin, as well as contemporaneous reporting of the issues discussed — including several citations of fact from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
STEELMAN CLAIM: "John Brunner: Sued for failing to pay taxes."
FACT: John Brunner has never been personally sued for failing to pay taxes.
- The lawsuit referenced from 8/8/03 was, in fact, for an unpaid personal property tax bill in the amount of $966.75 for Vi-Jon Laboratories, Inc., not John Brunner personally as the Steelman ad claims. Moreover, the entire property tax bill of $1,266.11 which included $299.36 in interest, penalties, and fees, was paid in full.
- The "St. Louis City lawsuit" referenced from 10/31/11 was not a lawsuit at all, but rather a tax lien from St. Louis County. Similar to the account above, the tax lien was filed against Vi-Jon Laboratories, LLC, not against John Brunner personally as the Steelman ad claims. Moreover, Vi-Jon paid off the entire tax lien, including interest and penalties, in full. Ultimately, after Vi-Jon had already paid off the tax lien, the Missouri Department of Revenue sent a letter to Vi-Jon determining that Vi-Jon was "currently in compliance with Missouri's consumer use tax laws and is not liable for filing consumers use tax for tax year 2004 with the Missouri Department of Revenue at this time." The Department of Revenue then concluded that the tax lien was to be "expunged" from Vi-Jon's record.
- Sarah Steelman sloppily and incorrectly cited her attack — choosing a quick, headline grabbing, personal smear, rather than citing the factual details of both cases.
FACT: John Brunner personally — and legally — bought tax-credits; a tax option available to any citizen.
- Sarah Steelman cites a November 16, 2010 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatchthat shows John Brunner personally, not Vi-Jon laboratories, purchased historic tax credits issued by the state of Missouri through a program run by the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED). Buying these historic tax credits is a fully legal opportunity available to all Missouri taxpayers.
- These tax credits are not "government handouts" and were not purchased by Vi-Jon or for Vi-Jon.
- This claim by Sarah Steelman represents the height of hypocrisy due to the fact that as a Missouri state senator, Steelman voted in support of the same historic tax credits that John Brunner purchased.
- 1999 DED budget: Missouri State Senate Journals, HB 7, May 5, 1999, Overall vote: 33-0, Steelman vote: Yes
- 2000 DED budget: Missouri State Senate Journals, HB 1107, May 4, 2000, Overall vote: 33-0, Steelman vote: Yes
- 2001 DED budget: Missouri State Senate Journals, HB 7, May 9, 2001, Overall vote: 33-0, Steelman vote: Yes
- 2002 DED budget: Missouri State Senate Journals, HB 1107, May 10, 2002, Overall vote: 24-8, Steelman vote: Yes
- 2003 DED budget: Missouri State Senate Journals, HB 7, May 8, 2003, Overall vote: 25-7, Steelman vote: Yes
- 2004 DED budget: Missouri State Senate Journals, HB 1007, May 6, 2004, Overall vote: 34-0, Steelman vote: Yes