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Osborn Recycles Old Attack on Sasse to Distract from TARP Ties

11:25 AM, Mar 14, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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According to Politico, "Osborn’s campaign declined to comment for the record" but it's not a stretch to surmise that the Osborn campaign or someone close to it was peddling this story last fall, and now they're peddling it again. It doesn't help that the former chairman of the Nebraska Republican party sent an email last November accusing the Osborn campaign of lacking integrity and "using the media to do his dirty work, and then refusing to discuss his negative attacks when given the chance to do so." With the revelations about Osborn's firm profiting off of TARP also breaking this morning, it is highly unlikely the timing of this repackaged attack on Sasse is a coincidence.

According to a statement from Sasse's campaign, "Politico recycled an old story that the Obsorn campaign has been peddling for months. Ben spoke on a panel (unpaid) about Health IT/Wellness at the request of an old boss. Ben never worked to implement ObamaCare, he never aided anyone in implementing ObamaCare. He spoke on a panel. That's it. We have always said this. There is no new information here."

So what we have here are dueling allegations. In the case of Sasse, his connection to Leavitt's firm is that he once appeared on power point slide the firm used, appeared on at least one panel discussion and had business related conversations with his former boss at HHS. Both Leavitt and Sasse say he was never paid for any of this.

In the case of Osborn, he was chief marketing officer for Academy Securities when they signed a billion dollar deal to sell stock as part of Treasury's bailout program. His campaign says he "stepped back" from his role at the firm last March, but that's only an informal arrangement. He's still listed on the company website and more recent disclosure forms list him as affiliated. Even if he doesn't directly profit of the TARP sale, he's still a partner in the firm and could conceivably benefit from the sale in other ways.

It's been a bad week for the Osborn campaign. On Wednesday, Sasse was endorsed by Sarah Palin, adding to a list of endorsements that includes Mike Lee, Tom Coburn, Paul Ryan, Mark Levin, and National Review. Further, a new Nebraska Senate poll released this week by Breitbart News/The Polling Company shows Osborn up 35 to 24 percent, but the poll is ultimately troubling for Osborn. He appears to be benefiting largely from the name recognition that comes with having previously elected in the state.

In the same poll, Sasse is up handily among voters who have heard of both candidates and up a whopping 21 points among candidates who have opinions about both. Sasse is significantly outstripping Osborn in fundraising, so building his name recognition likely won't be a problem.

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