Mark Kirk Is the Giving Tree, and Other Meditations - NBC Chicago
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Mark Kirk Is the Giving Tree, and Other Meditations



    Mark Kirk says he wants “integrity squads” to keep voters honest. Maybe the voters need a “Mark Kirk Integrity Squad,” to keep him honest.

    Now Kirk has been accused of exaggerating his role in passing a bill to impose sanctions on companies doing business with Iran. As usual, there is an acorn of truth to Kirk’s claim. But also as usual, he is trying to make it look like an oak tree.

    In September, Kirk told the Sun-Times editorial board, “The Iran Sanctions Bill, it was originally Kirk-Andrews, but if you were going to move it, that means you need to adjust to the power of the House. This legislation eventually became Howard Berman’s legislation, who is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He had my full approval in moving that forward under his badge.”

    Berman, the Hollywood congressman who chairs of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, gave Kirk credit for introducing bills to cripple Iran’s petroleum industry, but says none of his legislation inspired theComprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, which also targets financial institutions that do business with Iran.

    “We didn’t even look at his legislation at the time,” Berman told the Sun-Times. “Our bill did so much more and went so far beyond his bill, I would have to put it in the context of an exaggeration.”

    Kirk co-sponsored the bill, but so did 342 other House members.

    The Kirk campaign is accusing Berman of collaborating with fellow Democrat Giannoulias to plant one last “Kirk is a liar” story two weeks before the election. Kirk is calling Berman a liar for calling him a liar. It’s hard to keep track of all the lies in this Senate election, especially when you can’t tell who’s lying about who’s lying.

     “Congressman Berman apparently wants to disavow his own statements crediting the Kirk-Andrews gasoline sanctions bill as the predecessor to the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act in order to score cheap political points two weeks before an election,” Kirk spokesman Richard Goldberg said. “Chairman Berman’s new assertions are contradicted by his previous words and the documented record, which clearly show Congressmen Kirk and Andrews introduced the first gasoline sanctions legislation in 2007. It is now clear that Alexi Giannoulias and his surrogates are so desperate they will say and do anything to get elected.”

    Pot. Kettle. Black.