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Fact check: Environmental group's latest ad campaign against Dino Rossi

A national environmental group is spending big money against Republican Dino Rossi in the battle for Washington's 8th Congressional district.
Credit: KING
Dino Rossi

A national environmental group is spending big money against Republican Dino Rossi in the battle for Washington's 8th Congressional district.

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) dropped $1 million on new TV ads hitting the airwaves today, as part of a $15 million investment in House races across the country. The group’s effort in Washington state represents its largest single ad buy this election season.

“It’s a record that brings back memories,” the ad begins, which hits Republican Rossi for his record in Washington’s state Senate.

The advertisement places blame on Rossi for “kicking 45,000 children off of health care.”

This is an assertion that's surfaced in previous ads, citing an article about a health study on the number of uninsured children following the 2003 budget negotiation, a year when the state faced a massive budget shortfall.

The Washington State Health Care Authority told KING 5 it's true that changes by the Legislature reduced the number of children on public health insurance by approximately 45,000. However, a spokeswoman says that's because certification requirements were tightened.

Complete coverage: Fact checking the 2018 elections

“Continuous eligibility” was ended, meaning an increase in income during the certification period could impact eligibility. If a family’s income was found to be above the income standard, the child’s medical coverage would close, according to spokesperson Amy Blondin.

The certification period for children’s coverage was also lowered from every 12 months to six months. However, in 2005, the Health Care Authority returned to 12 months of continuous eligibility, according to Blondin.

PolitiFact also noted that most of the eligible children regained coverage when the rules changed back in 2005.

The LCV ad also slams Rossi for “his votes against protecting our drinking water,” citing a State Senate bill from 2003 that would have blocked Washington agencies from adopting rules that exceed federal standards without legislative authority. Rossi voted in favor of the bill which passed the Senate, but did not pass the House.

The ad ends by calling out Rossi for the “tax breaks he supports for corporate polluters,” referencing the GOP tax bill passed by the U.S. Congress, which Rossi has said he supports. The League of Conservation Voters points to changes in the federal tax code that lowers tax rates for corporations, including oil and gas operators.

Rossi noted during last week's debate that Washington Conservation Voters (WCV), a state chapter affiliated with League of Conservation Voters, gave Rossi a "Distinguished Deeds" recognition back in 2002.

Watch full 8th district debate

However, WCV which scores lawmakers on environmental issues, says it gave Rossi just a 31 percent lifetime score, which includes a zero score in 2017, when he was appointed back to the legislature for a year. WCV has endorsed the Democratic candidate, Dr. Kim Schrier, in the 8th District race.

A spokesman for the Rossi campaign counters that he has a long and proud history of environmental protection and notes he's served on the board of the Nature Conservancy, the Mountains-to-Sound Greenway Trust and received an award from Long Live the Kings, a salmon conservation group.

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