A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

A Mis-tweet from McMahon


Linda McMahon’s U.S. Senate campaign recently used the social networking site Twitter to misrepresent former Rep. Robert Simmons’ position on tax credits for businesses and the dividend tax. McMahon and Simmons are battling in Connecticut to become the GOP nominee for Chris Dodd’s Senate seat.

Shawn McCoy, deputy communications director for the McMahon campaign, tweeted the following on May 11:

@RobSimmons supports hiking the dividends tax and opposes biz tax credits. No wonder CT lost 15,000 jobs while he was biz advocate

But Simmons does support giving tax credits to businesses and extending the Bush tax cuts including the dividend tax, according to his campaign.

To justify his claim, McCoy pointed to an attack by the Simmons campaign on millions of dollars in film and television production tax credits that World Wrestling Entertainment received while McMahon was chief executive officer. Simmons’ campaign called the credits McMahon’s "own personal stimulus package." But the Simmons camp said its issue wasn’t with the tax credits themselves. Instead, it criticized McMahon for campaigning against government "bailouts" while her former company was receiving millions in taxpayer dollars.

There’s even less support for claiming that Simmons backs "hiking the dividends tax." Quite the contrary, Simmons voted for cutting the dividends tax rate as part of Bush’s tax cuts, and he has supported making the cut permanent. His campaign has criticized McMahon for accepting dividend payouts totaling $193 million from WWE while also laying off 10 percent of the company’s workforce, but that’s hardly the same thing as advocating an increase in taxes.

A Misleading Mailer

McMahon is also misrepresenting Simmons’ position on limiting carbon emissions. A mailer recently sent out by the McMahon campaign claims Simmons’ " ‘cap’ and ‘trade’ plans will hurt Connecticut."

"Any way you slice it," it says, "Simmons’ national energy tax will cost our families and Connecticut jobs."

Though the mailer correctly notes that Simmons cosponsored cap-and-trade legislation during his previous tenure in Congress, he doesn’t have any plans to do so in the future. Simmons has said that he has changed his mind and doesn’t support cap-and-trade legislation currently making its way through Congress. Simmons says he would vote against the legislation if he’s elected to the Senate.