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Politics / Issues

Fact-Checking GOP Attacks on Alex Sink

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politifact.com

The Republican Party of Florida hasn't wasted any time in attacking Democrat Alex Sink, who has just announced she will run for the congressional seat of the late Bill Young.

Just hours after Sink announced, the Florida GOP posted a YouTube video that criticized Sink on a number of issues.

For one thing, the video's text reads, "...Florida's CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Alex Sink oversaw a 27 billion dollar loss in the state's pension fund."

"We gave this claim a rating of half true," said PolitiFact editor Angie Holan.  "This goes back to Alex Sink's tenure as Chief Financial Officer of Florida. She took office in 2007 and then left in 2011. So, during those four years the loses to the pension fund were 27 billion dollars."

But, Holan explained, there is some explanation needed.

"The first thing is this was during an historic recession," Holan said. "I think were going to see this a lot during the campaign. The people who were in office during the recession are going to get the blame while the people who came in during the recovery are going to take the credit. But another point to mention is that the CFO isn't the only person who oversees the pension fund. There are also two other trustees, the governor and the attorney general. So pinning all of this on Alex Sink -- other people were involved, there was a recession -- we rated it half true."

The Florida GOP YouTube video also attacked Sink's CFO record on the budget claiming that she supported a 5.2 billion dollar increase in the state debt.

PolitiFact rated that charge mostly false.

"On this one we found some game playing with the numbers," Holan explained. "They started their debt clock in 2006. Well, that's the year before Alex Sink took office. So when you're playing games with the numbers, we went to a more negative rating."

PoltiFact also pointed out that some of this state debt was out of the hands of the CFO.

"Some of this debt was for school construction," said Holan. "You may remember the amendment to keep class sizes in Florida low. And the legislature and the governor certainly have some responsibility for this debt. The CFO's role is to approve bond issuances. So, overall, this one just seemed like it was much more of a stretch, so we rated it mostly false."