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On the attack - A closer look at claims in 10th District ads

As the 10th Congressional District race to fill the seat of the retiring Frank Wolf reaches its final weeks, several ads from Republican Barbara Comstock and Democrat John Foust are lighting up the TV screens across the region. Here's a look at four of the most popular – two from the Foust camp and two from the Comstock's team.

Ad from: Foust for Congress and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Key highlights: Comstock failed to properly disclose campaign and political-related finances. First, the GOP candidate failed to disclose $85,000 for her work on the Romney presidential campaign as required by congressional candidate disclosures, and second, she introduced and lobbied for anti-union and right-to-work legislation in Virginia's House of Delegates while being compensated by a client, the Workforce Fairness Institute, that supports those policies.

A closer look: In the first instance -- the $85,000 claim – a Comstock spokesman confirmed the mistake, calling it an oversight, and said the candidate would correct her disclosure form, according to “The Washington Post.”

In the second potential ethics lapse, which was first reported by “Politico,” the Comstock campaign says its candidate disclosed her clients as required by Virginia law. There has been no cut-and-dry proof Comstock broke any laws, but some wonder if that has more to do with loose ethics requirements in the commonwealth. At least one Democratic lawmaker insists Comstock should have recused herself from votes on the anti-union measures, given she was being paid by a company that openly supports right-to-work measures.

Comstock campaign spokeswoman Susan Falconer responded by calling the “Politico” story “patently false.” “It is no secret that Barbara Comstock has worked in a public and open fashion -- on TV, radio, and in print -- advocating right to work policies,” Falconer said.

Ad from: Comstock for Congress
Key highlights: Foust supports a slew of higher taxes, and his record shows he supported raising property taxes by 22 percent in Fairfax County.

A closer look: Foust has supported increasing property taxes in Fairfax County, though the 22 percent figure can be debated. From a tax rate standpoint, the increase in Fairfax County since Foust took office in 2008 is 22 percent, but, given the economic downtown and continued sagging home values, the average property bill in Fairfax County has risen $18, which, from a dollars and cents standpoint, is a less than a 1 percent increase since 2008.

In terms of the higher federal taxes, the Comstock campaign said it arrived at those claims due to Foust's general support for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Ad from: John Foust for Congress and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Key highlights: Comstock wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade even in the cases of rape and incest, and Comstock voted in favor of the controversial transvaginal ultrasound legislation in the General Assembly in 2012.

A closer look: A firmly pro-life candidate, Comstock did vote for what many considered to be medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds before a woman has an abortion. The legislation was eventually altered to not include transvaginal ultrasounds.

However, Comstock's campaign says the candidate supports exceptions on abortions in the case of rape, incest or if the life of the mother is in danger, something the Foust camp disputes.

Much of the gray areas steam from what consequences could come from so-called “personhood” legislation -- defining life at conception -- that Comstock has supported. The Associated Press reported that Virginia's personhood bill, authored by western Prince William Del. Bob Marshall (R-13th), would effectively outlaw all Virginia abortions by declaring that the rights of persons apply from the moment sperm and egg unite.

Comstock has said Roe vs. Wade should be overturned and decided by the states.

Ad from: National Republican Congressional Committee
Key highlights: The GOP camp calls Foust “sexist” and “insensitive,” largely because of comments he made during a campaign event in Leesburg when he asked whether Comstock has ever had a “real job.”

A closer look: The Foust campaign has consistently said the Democrat's remarks were “taken out of context,” although campaign manager Shaun Daniels conceded shortly after the Leesburg event his candidate could have better-phrased his words.

Democrats say the “real job” comment was referencing a slew of what he calls “hyper-partisan” jobs for Republicans. Those positions include chief opposition researcher for the Republican National Committee, chairwoman for the Scooter Libby defense fund and as a consultant for Koch Industries.

Foust's campaign points to many of the candidate's positions on so-called women's issues, like his support for equal pay for equal work, a pro-choice agenda and opposing cuts to Planned Parenthood.

The Comstock campaign maintains Foust's remarks were insensitive to working women and an insult to mothers and federal workers.
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