Utah Democrats launched Monday a week-before-the-election attack on Sen. Orrin Hatch that says, essentially, a vote for Hatch is a vote for death.
The party issued a news release saying Hatch accepted campaign donations from 12 of the 13 corporations listed as the world's most deadly by the website brainz.org. It asserts that Hatch also voted in ways that favored most of them. It posted a page on the party's website about the donations, which can be seen at bit.ly/PCvFWo.
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis said, "In order to raise the astonishing amount of $11 million for his re-election, Senator Hatch has, no doubt, had to promise a lot to some very shady players."
He added, "Imagine two lights blinking on the senator's phone. One: a Utah constituent with a problem. The other line: a corporate lobbyist who has forked over big bucks. Wonder which call Hatch will take?"
Hatch's campaign manager, Dave Hansen, questioned the legitimacy of the criticism.
"What is it with these Democrats? First it was 'Senator Hatch is going to die in office,'" a possibility raised by his Democratic opponent Scott Howell in attacks on 78-year-old Hatch's age. "Now they realized he's not going to die, so they switched to 'He's going to kill everybody else.'"
Hansen added, "I think Scott Howell and his Democratic friends are losing grip on reality in these final days of the campaign.… It's political rhetoric from the Democrats who are grasping at any straws to try to become relevant in this year's campaign after finding they are not."
Later, Howell's campaign manager, Emily Hollingshead, issued a statement saying, "These claims have come from the Utah Democratic Party, not the Scott Howell campaign."
But then she also attacked Hatch's campaign spending.
"Utah voters have a right to know who has bought and paid for Orrin Hatch. Why would anybody need to spend $12 million dollars in Utah in a United States [Senate] race? And, I think it's right for voters to question campaign contributions, especially when 91 percent of them come from outside of the state. It just goes to show that Senator Hatch is not a friend to Utah voters, but is instead in the pockets of his Washington cronies."
Democrats noted in their press release that among the "13 deadliest corporations" that donated to Hatch were "Big Tobacco firm Philip Morris, and Monsanto, one of the leading producers of Agent Orange."
It did not mention some others on the list, including Coca-Cola, which brainz.org attacked for adding to child obesity and wasting water; chocolate-maker Nestle, which the website said contributed to deforestation; Tyson chicken, which it accused of animal and environmental abuse; and Chevron and ExxonMobil, which it accuses of pollution and human-rights abuses.
Others on the list from which Hatch accepted donations include: British Petroleum, Caterpillar, Dyncorp, Haliburton and Pfizer.
Democrats listed donations to Hatch from the 12 companies and their subsidiaries totalling at least $282,000 since 1994.