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Democratic Attack Book Against Brendan Doherty Revealed

Monday, July 16, 2012


A 66-page opposition research book detailing Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty’s personal and financial history, voting record and stance on key campaign issues has been published on the Internet, GoLocalProv has learned.

The document, which was created and paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), goes into extensive detail about Doherty’s tenure as head of the Rhode Island State Police and could serve as a blue print for Super PACs and other independent expenditure groups looking to run attack ads against the Republican.

Included among the “significant findings” in the report are details that suggest violent crime increased every year while Doherty served as superintendent of the State Police as well as several inconsistencies with where the Republican stands on issues like abortion and the right-to-work law.

Doherty campaign manager Ian Prior said he has been aware of the document for several months and he understands that Democratic and Republican Congressional Campaign committees often conduct opposition research. He also disputed some of the findings and accused incumbent Congressman David Cicilline of using information found in the report.

“As for the substance of the research book, I have already begun to see Cicilline campaign leaflets that appear to be utilizing some of the information in a very misleading fashion,” Prior said. “It will be interesting to see how Congressman Cicilline and his surrogates make use of that book over the next few months. I will say this - they would be well-served to spend some time double checking the accuracy of some of the items.”

State Police Record

The research book cites FBI crime statistics to make the case that violent crime increased by 11.19 percent during Doherty’s time as head of the State Police. At the same time, it suggests that violent crime in Providencde—where Cicilline served as Mayor from 2003 through 2010— dropped significantly.

“Doherty assumed office at a time when crime in Providence had dropped 30 percent over the previous five years,” the research states. “However, in 2008, Providence saw an increase in gun violence. In fact, after Doherty assumed office, violent crime increased every year. Under Doherty’s watch, the FBI investigated allegations of police brutality.”

The report also highlights the fact that Doherty cashed in his unused vacation and personal time to receive $27,365.85 shortly after resigning as head of the State Police. It also details several incidents of misconduct other state troopers engaged in during his tenure and suggests that Doherty opposed an “Amber Alert” system for the elderly.

Voting Record/Flip-Flops

In addition to breaking down Doherty’s professional history, the report also details his voting record, which shows that during some elections, he voted as a Democrat and in others, as a Republican. In 2008, records show Doherty voted as a Republican in the Presidential primary and as a Democrat in the local primary.

In addition to floating between political parties in several elections, the research also highlights areas where Doherty has changed his stance in the issues. For example, Doherty originally said he was personally against abortion but that he supported Roe V Wade. He later changed his campaign website to say that he is strictly pro-life.

The research calls into question Doherty’s position on the right-to-work law, which would allow employees the option to not join unions. In March, the candidate said he supports right-to-work laws during an interview with Channel 10, but the research says he then “backtracked.”

“Doherty initially supported so-called ‘Right-to-Work’ laws, and said some unions were ‘just out of control,’” the report states. “He later backtracked on that support and denied that he ever supported ‘Right-to-Work.’”

A Cut-Off Point for Social Security

While little (if any) attack fodder is available on Doherty’s personal history, Cicilline has made an effort to attack the Republican on issues such as healthcare and social security. The Democrat was successful in using the same strategy in 2010 against Republican John Loughlin, who at one point called social security a “ponzi scheme.”

According to the research book, Doherty is taking a more moderate approach on most issues, but he has still used Republican rhetoric that Super PACs and other independent expenditure groups may end up using against him. For example, the book cites one interview in which Doherty suggested a “cut-off point” was needed or social security.

“Let’s come up with a cut-off point, like 1960 or 1959,” he said. “Those people would only… It would take them another couple of weeks to get that benefit and then it’s just graduated. So it would be a few weeks, by birth date. So, when you say ‘10 years out,’ it could affect people 10 years out.”

The report also highlights Doherty’s stance on tax policy.

“Doherty supported allowing all of the Bush tax cuts to expire, including those for families making less than $250,000 per year,” the research book states. “He also opposed the ‘Buffett Rule,’ which would require millionaires to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes. Doherty supported cutting corporate taxes to ‘about 22, 25 percent,’ and wanted to eliminate capital gains taxes.”

Doherty Camp Responds

While Doherty is aware that Cicilline supporters will likely run attack ads against him and vice versa, Prior said the Republican has spent his entire career in the public eye and understands that his decisions and actions are public record.

Prior also took a thinly veiled shot at Cicilline, whose had to apologize earlier this year for suggesting that the city of Providence was in “excellent financial condition” during the 2010 campaign.

“In fact, if more of our leaders operated transparently and with accountability, perhaps Rhode Islanders would have been spared some of the difficult situations that have resulted from a lack of forthrightness and honesty on the part of our political leaders,” Prior said.

Prior also accused a Cicilline staffer of videotaping the candidate and his family during the Bristol 4th of July parade. Before the general election, Cicilline and Anthony Gemma will square off in a Democratic primary, but either way, Prior suggested that Doherty is prepared for the coming attack ads.

“Brendan understands that this has become par for the course in this arena and he will continue to comport himself with civility, tolerance, and respect,” Prior said.



Dan McGowan can be reached at dmcgowan@golocalprov.com.


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