Dark money ads (and some from Republican Rep. French Hill himself) are attacking Democratic Sen. Joyce Elliott for voting for legislation that raised taxes or fees — a gasoline tax increase, a charge on cell phones for 911 service and a tax on cigarette rolling papers to pay for cancer research.

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No amount of my saying that these were Republican-sponsored pieces of legislation wholeheartedly endorsed and signed by Governor Hutchinson can overcome the tidal wave of attack ads pouring out of my TV every night thanks to an enormous dark money buy on the part of a fatcat Republican PAC.

The Democrat-Gazette laid out the facts illustrating the essential hypocrisy of these attacks for its dwindling number of readers today. Newspapers just don’t have much clout anymore thanks to dramatically reduced circulation and the poison of social media. But it was welcome all the same, if only because it laid bare what thoroughly unprincipled people French Hill and Asa Hutchinson are.

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Hutchinson:

Asked Monday whether the three votes are a proper litmus test for identifying “tax-and-spend” liberals, Hutchinson replied, “The ads are run by a third-party group not controlled by any candidate.”

“I don’t want to get into the middle of the discussion about ads ran by out-of-state groups. I did sign the bills into law and I did support their passage,” he said in a written statement.

Hill:

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The Hill campaign declined Monday to say whether the candidate would have voted against all three pieces of legislation. Hill had previously expressed his opposition to the cell phone tax.

“Our campaign is not responsible for third-party ads,” campaign chairwoman Judith Goodson said in a written statement. “We continue to focus on the Congressman’s message of ‘promises made, promises kept’ … “

If Hutchinson or Hill had a shred of integrity they would speak, in person, loudly not through a spokesman or a prepared statement.

Hutchinson would declare the attack ads dishonest and repudiate them. He’d say he proudly supported the legislation and commended those who crossed the aisle to do so. He’d say he’d think his friend French, for whom he’s appeared in TV ads, surely would say he supported the legislation, too.

Hill, well, harder to say. At this point, given the dishonest campaign he’s waged, he’d at least have to reiterate his opposition to the cell phone fee (which replaced revenue lost because of the decline in landlines).  Maybe he’d say he’d have voted against better roads and cancer research as well as better emergency service. He should do so. Or else repudiate the message and praise Republican sponsors and his pal the governor for offering such important legislation, evidenced by its broad, bipartisan support.

Hell will freeze over. It’s about winning for them. Not truth-telling.

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Joyce Elliott’s ads have been refreshing, as her final TV effort illustrates.

PS: The ads also lie about Joe Biden’s tax plan.

PS: Speaking of dark money, a group that supports election of educators has released an ad in support of Elliott. It SUPPORTS Elliott for positive reasons, rather than coming up with the many ways you could attack Hill’s service of Trump and millionaires.