Politifact Calls Brendan Kelly’s Attacks “False”

By Stephen Koff


In Illinois, Brendan Kelly wants to cash in on a Mike Bost vote

In Washington, Mike Bost has agreed consistently that Congress members, earning $174,00 a year, don’t need a pay raise. But the Illinois Republican spent two decades in his state’s General Assembly before his 2014 election to Congress, and in one of those years — 11 years ago — he voted for a 9.6 percent pay raise for state lawmakers.

You can guess where this is going.

“While southern Illinois families struggled, Bost voted to raise his own pay.” So said a campaign ad from his Democratic challenger, Brendan Kelly.

Is this true? The suggestion is that Bost took care of himself and his lawmaker friends rather than the taxpayers. But Bost’s record of voting against pay raises is much longer.

The single vote

In 2007, the Illinois General Assembly was trying to pass a 75-page, multipart supplemental spending bill to fund schools, multiple state agencies and employee salaries. By the time it came up for a final vote, other lawmakers had included a measure to raise the assembly’s pay, with rank-and-file members’ salaries rising to $63,143 from $57,619. The Legislature had not received a raise, even one to cover cost-of-living increases, in several years, but this was controversial nevertheless because of claims that the state had bigger priorities, and limited resources.

Supporters of the bill said its passage was essential — not because of the pay raise but because the underlying bill contained multiple other state funding measures. That’s why Bost said he voted yes.

He had voted no the previous year on a similar measure with a proposed 9.6 percent pay hike.

Bost had also voted against pay raises numerous other times, his campaign and Illinois media said. WSIL-TV, an Illinois ABC affiliate, reported that while in the Illinois Legislature, “Bost voted against pay increases for lawmakers more than a dozen times, and even voted to require furlough days for legislators, actually reducing compensation.”

The Belleville News-Democrat, examining Illinois General Assembly documents, found the same thing in its own examination.

Now in Congress nearly four years, Bost has voted to freeze congressional pay 12 times. The number of votes exceeds his time in Congress because annual spending bills typically go through several stages, requiring several votes.

A nuance

This is about pay raises, but inflation-linked cost-of-living, or COLA, increases are also a form of a raise. Unless blocked by the Legislature, Illinois grants COLA adjustments automatically, a result of an independent compensation board’s decision decades ago. When counting votes against pay raises, Bost and the Illinois media generally include Bost’s multiple votes to skip the COLA hikes

But there was an instance in 2010, confirmed by PolitiFact in Illinois legislative records, when Bost voted yes on a floor amendment to suspend a COLA hike and require legislators to take 12 furlough days — yet when the measure got attached to a much broader budget bill, Bost voted no on that bill. He said he could not support the bill other reasons.

Technically speaking, that meant he voted against the final legislators’ COLA freeze and furlough.

The same pay provisions came up the next year, however, in a clean bill pertaining only to lawmaker compensation — and Bost voted for the cuts.

Our ruling

Kelly’s ad says Bost “voted to raise his own pay.” There is one 2007 vote that is not in question. Bost’s campaign spokesman said Bost voted for the bill despite that distasteful element because so many other provisions were essential for the state.

But Bost voted repeatedly against other pay hikes — not only the COLAs but a 9.6 percent proposed pay hike in a 2006 bill as well. If counting, those votes outnumbered the 2007 vote. Looking at his overall record gives a very different impression. We rate the claim Mostly False.


Brendan Kelly Playing Political Games with Suffering Families

Brendan Kelly and Nancy Pelosi’s most recent attack ad was proven to be filled with lies and half-truths, so they’ve gone back to the gutter for more. This time they stretch the truth on Mike Bost’s record fighting against the opioid epidemic in a 30-second television ad.

“Brendan Kelly and Nancy Pelosi have a lot in common, but most importantly they’re both liars and are absolutely ruthless,” said Dustin Rhodes, Campaign Manager for Bost for Congress. “Brendan Kelly not only spreads mistruths without flinching, but he’s trying to score political points on the backs of suffering families. Mike Bost has a strong legislative record of fighting the opioid epidemic and it’s a shame that Brendan Kelly wants to turn human suffering into a political game.”

Bost Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

Mike Bost has been an active leader in combating the opioid epidemic in Southern Illinois. He formed an Opioid Task Force that includes local public officials, health providers, education professionals, law enforcement, and families of those affected by the opioid crisis.

This week, Mike Bost will be voting for the most significant congressional effort against a single drug crisis in history when the House later this week considers H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act.

Mike Bost has also cosponsored more than a dozen bipartisan pieces of legislation and has voted for more than $10 billion in funding to combat the flow of illegal opioids into Southern Illinois. These bills enhance national and local solutions to assist families, health providers and community officials improve access to help and treatment for those addicted to opioids.

  • HR 449: “The Synthetic Drug Awareness Act”
  • H.R. 664, “Stem the Tide of Overdose Prevalence from Opiate Drugs Act”
  • H.R. 1057, “the STOP Act”
  • H.R. 2652, the “Veteran Overmedication Prevention Act”
  • H.R. 2851, the “SISTA Act”
  • H.R. 3566, “the Addiction Recovery for Local Communities Act”
  • H.R. 3832, “the Veterans Opioid Abuse Prevention Act”
  • H.R. 4275, “the Empower Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act”
  • H.R. 5228, “the SCREEN Act”
  • H.R. 5603, “the Access to Telehealth Services for Substance Abuse Act”
  • H.R. 5752, “the Stop Illicit Drug Importation Act”
  • H.R. 5889, “the Recognizing Early Childhood Trauma Related to Substance Abuse Act”
  • H.R. 5891, “the Improving the Federal Response to Families Impacted by Substance Abuse Act”
  • H.R. 1625, “the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act”


Firefighters Union Endorses Bost for Re-Election

MURPHYSBORO, IL – The Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI) today announced its endorsement of U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) for re-election. AFFI represents over 15,000 professional firefighters in 225 communities across Illinois.

“As a former firefighter, I know firsthand the dedication our first responders show to the communities they serve,” said Bost. “I’m honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with my firefighter brothers and sisters who put their lives on the line for their communities and I’m humbled by their support.”

“The Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois is proud to endorse Congressman Mike Bost for re-election in Illinois’ 12th Congressional District,” said Pat Devaney, AFFI President. “As a former firefighter, Mike Bost understands the needs of our first responders. We can count on Mike to put partisanship aside and stand up for Southern Illinois’ communities.”


Op-ed: Workhorses Get Things Done

In Congress, you learn real quick that the barn is full of show horses and workhorses. The show horses talk a big game while galloping from one cable news camera to the next.

But it’s the workhorses that get things done.

Southern Illinois’ has a lot of workhorses, and I knew if I was going to remain true to those values, I’d need to find common ground with members from across the political spectrum without compromising my principles. That is why every single bill I’ve introduced has had bipartisan support. A Democrat co-sponsor on every single one. Several of those bills are now law.

As a Marine and chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Disability Subcommittee, I knew we had to honor the sacrifices of our veterans and their families and ensure they are provided the best care possible. I was shocked when it was brought to my attention last year that more than 470,000 American veterans were languishing in the VA benefits appeals process, waiting to have their cases heard and their benefits rendered. In response, I went to work with U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Connecticut, and introduced the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act to make the VA appeals process more efficient. That bill was signed into law by President Trump last year.

In recent years, we’ve seen an alarming rise in violence at our schools. We have to ensure our children have a safe environment to grow and learn. That’s why I partnered with U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Illinois, to write the Securing Our Schools (SOS) Act, which established a federal program for local school districts to enhance their security and install panic alert systems. A school in Chicago and one in De Soto or Herrin have very different security challenges, but these grants allow the school districts the flexibility to address their unique needs. The SOS Act became law as part of a larger school safety legislative package earlier this year.

As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I am proud to represent the more than 10,000 producers in our district. What I’ve heard from them, especially our beginning farmers, is that the cost of doing business is growing while their revenue to reinvest in their business and employees is shrinking. That’s why I introduced the bipartisan Beginning Agriculturist Lifetime Employment (BALE) Act to give beginning farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers better access to credit so they can expand or diversify their operations. The BALE Act passed the House as part of the FARM Bill earlier this summer and is expected to be signed into law later this fall.

When the holiday floods of 2016 breached the Len Small Levee in Alexander County, destroying several thousand acres of infrastructure and agriculture land, residents were left in bureaucratic limbo as federal agencies calculated whether fixing the levee was worth their while. In the meantime, Southern Illinois families suffered. So I worked on a legislative fix gives a lifeline to rural communities struggling to rebuild after a disaster by providing financial flexibility for local sponsors to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to meet their economic threshold for repair. My provision passed the House this month and should be signed into law in the coming weeks.

So when you’re watching a debate this fall or come across a slick new attack ad on television, think about which horse is right for Southern Illinois. The show horse or workhorse?

Either way, I want you to know that it has truly been the honor of a lifetime representing Southern Illinois in Congress. Who would have thought that a kid who joined the Marines out of high school and became a truck driver and a firefighter could one day go on to write bills in Congress?

It’s been a humbling ride.

September 23, 2018

The Southern Illinoisan


Carpenters’ Union Endorses Mike Bost for Re-Election

MURPHYSBORO, IL – The St. Louis – Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council today announced its endorsement of U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) for re-election. The St. Louis – Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council represents more than 20,000 members in 33 locals across the region, including in Southern Illinois.

“As a former dues-paying labor union member, I’m honored to have the endorsement of the Carpenters Regional Council,” said Bost. “Hardworking families in Southern Illinois should be able to support themselves after an honest day’s work. That’s why I’ve consistently voted to protect the prevailing wage and the ability to collectively bargain. Southern Illinois working families know I’m fighting for them in Congress.”

“Mike Bost is a friend to organized labor and working families throughout Southern Illinois,” said Mark Dalton, Assistant Political Director for the St. Louis – Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council. “The Carpenters Regional Council advocates for fair wages and comprehensive benefits packages for our members. Mike Bost has been with us every step of the way. It is very important to us, and all of Labor, to protect prevailing wage (Davis-Bacon) and Mike Bost has been an outspoken leader on that issue. That’s why we’re proud to endorse Mike Bost for re-election to Congress.”


BND: Kelly says Congress needs new leaders. Bost asks why he’s taking old leaders’ money.

Democratic St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly (right), who is challenging U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, says he won’t vote for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker of the House if he wins in November. BND File Photo

The Bellleville News-Democrat


September 20, 2018

If St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly is elected to Congress and he and his fellow Democrats are able to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Kelly will face a leadership vote.

While on the campaign trail, the Swansea Democrat seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, has said he will not vote for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker of the House, no matter the situation.

“I will not be voting for Nancy Pelosi under any circumstance,” Kelly said. “I think what’s going to happen is we’ll have so many new people in Congress, that are veterans, that have a different life experience. You’re going to see a generational change in our leadership.

“It’s not just directed at one person,” Kelly added. “I think we need a whole leadership cadre at the top.” Kelly hasn’t selected anyone in particular he would support for speaker.

“I will support the candidate for speaker that will do the most for the people of Southern Illinois,” Kelly said.

Kelly says his position isn’t motivated by political polling about Pelosi.

“I have never seen a poll that says one way or the other about her. It has nothing to do with her, as much as it is the need for the country to break the log jam that we find ourselves in,” Kelly said. “In order to overcome this divide we do have to have new people. We do need a new generation. I think the folks that are at the top now who have been in control of both parties for a long time are not moving the country passed those divisions.”

Opposing Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi has lots of fundraising power in the Democratic Party. The California leader has been in the Democratic leadership in the House since 2003, and served as speaker of the House for four years.

Kelly has raised money with Pelosi. Pelosi was advertised to appear at fundraisers in Apriland June for Illinois candidates, including the St. Clair County Democrat. In August, Kelly had a fundraiser with Steny Hoyer, the House minority party whip, one of Pelosi’s lieutenants, according to invitations shared by Republican operatives.

Kelly’s position on Pelosi is one held by many Democrats hoping to be a part of the 116th Congress. Nearly 60 Democratic representatives or candidates running for Congress have said they oppose Pelosi.

Earlier this summer, Pelosi, who wants to be speaker again, was asked about Democrats coming out against her being the House leader.

“We just want to win, that’s the simplest answer of all,” Pelosi said. “When I’m not in the Capitol and I’m some place else, I’m raising money to elect those very people.”

Republicans criticize Kelly

The National Republican Campaign Committee criticized Kelly for taking Pelosi’s help, and help from her lieutenants, to raise campaign dollars while calling for new leadership.

“If Brendan Kelly is going to talk the talk, then he needs to walk the walk too,” said NRCC spokeswoman Maddie Anderson. “If he truly wants ‘new leadership,’ he needs to return leadership’s money immediately.”

The Bost campaign also has criticized planned advertising in the area for the fall by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and House Majority PAC, a super PAC aligned with Democrats.

“If Brendan Kelly has an ounce of honesty in him, he should call for Nancy Pelosi and her D.C. cronies to pull all advertising from the 12th district,” said Dustin Rhodes, Bost’s campaign manager. “Anything short of that is just another example of his hypocritical doublespeak.”

Kelly called the criticism an act of desperation and called it a “divisive approach.”

“They can’t run on their records, they can’t run on any great thing they’ve done for the country,” Kelly said. “My opponent cannot run on anything great he has done for Southern Illinois, so he’s got to focus on these personalities.”

With current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan leaving the House at the end the term, Bost would have to vote for someone new if he’s elected. He has said he would support current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California.

On the campaign trail, Bost has talked about how Pelosi wants be back in the speaker position if Democrats take back the House. In a television ad, the second-term congressman said he’s been fighting against Pelosi and that Kelly supports her.

“Regardless of what my opponent says, what he doesn’t understand is pressure will be put on him if all of a sudden they win, because her base in that caucus, still holds to her,” Bost said. “He’s never been through one of those votes when you’re arguing over who you’re going to be voting for the leader and/or speaker.”

Read the entire story HERE.

Police Officers Endorse Mike Bost for Re-Election

MURPHYSBORO, IL – The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police today announced its endorsement of U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) for re-election. The Fraternal Order of Police, founded in 1915, is the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers in the United States.

“As a former first responder, myself, I’ve always served as a voice for those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving others,” said Bost.“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police and I’m thankful for the men and women in blue who put their lives on the line every single day.”

“Mike Bost has proven that he backs the blue, so we are pleased and proud to back him in his re-election bid,” said FOP State Lodge President Chris Southwood. “Mike is a strong voice for the men and women in law enforcement and for the citizens of the 12th Congressional District.”

With a proud tradition of officers representing officers, the FOP is the most respected and most recognized police organization in the country. The Illinois FOP, chartered in 1963, is the second largest State Lodge, proudly representing more than 34,000 active duty and retired police officers – more than 10 percent of all FOP members nationwide.


AFGE Endorses Mike Bost for Reelection

WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees announced its endorsement of Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois for the U.S. House of Representatives for Illinois’s 12th Congressional District.

“Congressman Bost has shown time and again that he believes in federal workers, and is the right advocate for public servants in Illinois,” said AFGE District 7 National Vice President Dorothy James.

“Last year, when leadership in the house proposed going after working peoples’ pay and benefits, Rep. Bost pushed back and helped the 2.1 million men and women who have dedicated their careers to serving the American public,” James said

“From standing up for official time at the VA to supporting the Thin Blue Line Act – Rep. Bost is just the person we need in Congress,” she added.

Nearly 120,000 federal employees live in Illinois – more than 13,000 of whom reside in the 12th district – supporting the military, caring for veterans, ensuring the safety of the flying public, and getting Social Security recipients their benefits accurately and on time.

AFGE is the largest federal employee union in the country, representing 700,000 federal and D.C. government workers in all functions of government. District 7 has nearly 20,000 dues-paying members in Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.


National Right to Life Endorses Bost For Re-Election

MURPHYSBORO, IL – National Right to Life today announced its endorsement of U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) for re-election. NRLC is the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization.

“As someone who has fought in Congress to eliminate taxpayer funding for abortion and fought to preserve pro-life health care providers’ rights of conscience, I am honored to have the endorsement of National Right to Life,” said Bost. “As a father and grandfather, I know the love that a family feels for their child starts when they learn that their prayers have been answered and that a new life is being brought into this world. It is my sincere belief that America is only as strong as our willingness to protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us.”

“National Right to Life is pleased to endorse Mike Bost for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives,” said David N. O’Steen, Executive Director of the National Right to Life Committee. “We strongly commend Mike Bost for his perfect 100 percent pro-life voting record in the 115th Congress. Voters who are concerned with the right to life and with the protection of the most vulnerable members of the human family should vote to return Mike Bost to Congress so that he can continue to work to advance vital pro-life public policies.”


Bost Campaign Releases New TV Ad

MURPHYSBORO, IL – Bost For Congress today released its second television advertisement of the 2018 election cycle. “At It Again” will air district-wide on broadcast and cable television.

Folks, they’re at it again.

I’ve spent 20 years fighting Pelosi and Madigan, my opponent has spent his career supporting them

I’ve never stopped fighting for our families.

Whether it’s creating a stronger economy and bringing our steel jobs back, reforming the VA to ensure better care for our veterans or fighting for fair trade and a level playing field.

I’ve never wavered.

And you can always count on me to do what’s right for all of Southern Illinois.