- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - THEME: Katie McGinty, a Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, is airing a new TV ad attacking a 2009 congressional vote by a rival, Joe Sestak, on a bill to restrict employee bonuses at financial institutions bailed out with taxpayer money. Sestak’s campaign is responding with a TV ad of its own.

TITLES: McGinty: “Outrage.” Sestak: “Listen.”

LENGTH: 30 seconds

AIRING: Undisclosed markets. McGinty’s began Friday. Sestak’s began Monday.

McGINTY AD: Key claim in McGinty’s ad: “Looking out for Wall Street CEOs, that’s what Congressman Joe Sestak did. Sestak was one of only eight Democrats to join Republicans to allow CEOs of bailed-out banks to pay themselves unlimited bonuses using bailout money.”

SESTAK AD: Key claim in Sestak’s ad: “McGinty’s misleading attack leaves out the truth. Joe Sestak voted against giving back CEO bonuses to their corporations because he fought for and voted for a tougher bill to give the bonuses to taxpayers instead.”

ANALYSIS: Sestak never voted to “allow CEOs of bailed-out banks to pay themselves unlimited bonuses using bailout money.”

The votes in question occurred in 2009, when Sestak was a second-term congressman from Delaware County. The U.S. House’s votes came amid an issue roiling voters over hefty employee bonuses at financial institutions - notably, American International Group - that had been bailed out with taxpayer dollars to save them from collapse in the recession.

On March 19, Sestak voted “yes” on a bill that passed 328-93 to tax away the bonuses. In effect, that bill would have imposed a 90 percent tax on bonuses given to employees with family incomes above $250,000 at American International Group and other companies that had received at least $5 billion in government bailout money. That bill stalled in the Senate.

Later, on April 1, the House brought up another, albeit weaker, bill on bonuses. That bill, which passed 247-171, would have allowed the bonuses if the Treasury Department and financial regulators determined they were not “unreasonable or excessive.” Sestak opposed it.

Ultimately, neither provision became law.

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