Breaking News
More () »

Angie Craig's police stance distorted in attack ad

A Super PAC ad wrongly claims the Second District congresswoman tried to strip police funding and is aligned with those who back that movement.

MINNEAPOLIS — Rep. Angie Craig was the first Democrat in Congress to openly criticize Minneapolis Ballot Question 2, which would’ve replaced that city’s police department with a new public safety agency.

It’s one of the reasons the Second District congresswoman won the endorsement of the state’s largest statewide law enforcement group, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. The MPPOA is the same group that endorsed Republican Scott Jensen in the governor’s race.

But that hasn’t kept Rep. Craig from being targeted by national Republicans in attack ads claiming she’s anti-police. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a conservative Super PAC, is running an ad wrongly claiming she voted for a bill that would cut funding from police.

"She sided with radical Ilhan Omar on a bill that would restrict funding to our cops," the narrative is heard saying.

The citation given by Congressional Leadership Fund is Craig’s votes in support of a package of police reforms in 2020 and 2021, known as the Justice for George Floyd Act. The bill, among other things, would’ve banned choke holds and reformed qualified immunity, which is the legal concept that shields officers from civil lawsuits for actions in the line of duty.

RELATED: President Biden signs federal policing order two years after George Floyd's death

Most credible national media outlets agree there was nothing in that bill that would explicitly strip federal funding from police agencies that complied with the new proposed rules. The bill stalled in the US Senate because it couldn’t get the 60 votes necessary to overcome the filibuster.

And it’s important to note that all four Democrats in Minnesota’s congressional delegation voted for the Justice for George Floyd Act, not just Craig and Omar. Craig said her views on qualified immunity have since evolved, and that she no longer supports it because of the impact it would have on police recruiting.

The MPPOA’s endorsement also noted Craig’s work with Katie Siflo, the widow of South St. Paul Police Sgt. Corey Siflo, who died by suicide due to work-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Craig was able to push a bill through Congress that extended the same survivor benefits to families of officers such as Siflo who’ve died in a mental health crisis.

RELATED: Abortion, economy take center stage in Craig-Kistner debate

And Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie has endorsed Craig for her work on police staffing grants for small to mid-sized law enforcement agencies. Sheriff Leslie is now appearing in an Angie Craig T.V. ad.

"Angie fought for more funding for community policing and for more police officers for the communities we serve."

Leslie also praised Craig for speaking out against the 2021 Minneapolis ballot question that was ultimately defeated by Minneapolis voters.

Jetting off to LA

The second charge leveled in the CLF ad is based on a small fundraiser in November of 2021 hosted by one of Rep. Craig’s friends in Los Angeles.

"Craig even jetted off to LA to raise money with defund-the-police radicals," the narrator tells viewers over images of an airplane taking off, file video Craig adamantly speaking at a rally and shots of protesters clashing with police.

It’s misleading at best to claim the fundraiser was hosted by "defund-the-police radicals."

Los Angeles attorney Lindsay Carlson and her husband hosted the event. Carlson is a Minnesota native, the daughter of Minnesota Sen. Jim Carlson of Eagan, and a personal friend of Craig’s.

She's is also the co-founder and president of a grassroots political group known as the Heart of LA Democratic Club, devoted to supporting progressive female candidates.

"I think to some extent the club's name was attached to it, but it was really a fundraiser that my husband and I hosted for her," Lindsay Carlson explained in an interview with KARE 11.

"Her finance person at the time put the club's name on it, I said that's fine. And we definitely had enough members of the club that were attending the fundraiser."

The club as an organization didn’t contribute to Craig’s campaign.

"No. And this is a grassroots club. I should mention the membership fee per year is $25, so it's not a particularly well-funded organization," Carlson explained.

She said the group is focused on local and state candidates that will stand up for women and protect abortion rights. It has never been focused on police reform or engaged in any efforts to cut police funding in Los Angeles.

Group's tweets

The CLF’s claim is based on two tweets by the Heart of LA Democrats from June 17th of 2020, in the wake of George Floyd's murder.

One tweet said a group "made a compelling presentation to the LA City Council for defunding police and investing in a bold, community-based approach to public safety."

Another tweet that day endorsed a proposed bill in California to enable community-based groups to respond to mental health crises rather than police.

Neither tweet received much of a response. 

"It was basically complimenting a group that was presenting some options to the LA City Council, literally two weeks after George Floyd's murder. Everybody was in a very heightened emotional state at the time," Carlson said.

Watch more Minnesota politics:

Watch the latest political coverage from the Land of 10,000 Lakes in our YouTube playlist:

Before You Leave, Check This Out