It’s an ad so misleading that even conservatives won’t back its Obamacare claims. In the Americans for Prosperity ad aimed at destroying Michigan Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Gary Peters, Julie Boonstra inaccurately claims that Obamacare is threatening her cancer treatment and that it “jeopardized my health.”
She said her life was on the line due to Obamacare, “Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable. If I do not receive my medication, I will die.” That’s a really strong accusation, so it drew a lot of attention, and it turned out to be more Koch brothers baloney.
When called out on the facts, the Koch Brothers SuperPAC, Americans for Prosperity, and the GOP claimed people were picking on a cancer victim, as if they couldn’t tell the difference between personal attacks and fact-checking.
But Chris Savage, publisher of EclectaBlog, revealed that the alleged “Obamacare victim” from the Koch Brothers ad shares property in Dexter, Michigan with former Washtenaw County GOP chair, Mark Boonstra.
Savage wrote on his site EclectaBlog that it seems like more than just the AFP are taking advantage of Julie Boonstra:
As far as Julie Boonstra being taken advantage of, I don’t think it’s just AFP that’s involved. She owns a home property with the former chair of the Washtenaw County Republican Party Mark Boonstra, a vacant lot next to Mr. Boonstra’s Dexter home.
Dexter is a very small town outside of Ann Arbor.
Mr. Boonstra is no political novice. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in applied economics and a law degree from the University of Michigan.
And he’s no non-partisan. Mr. Boonstra is a member of the self described conservative and libertarian Federalists Society. In 2012, Mr. Boonstra was appointed by Republican Governor Rick Synder to serve on the Michigan Court of Appeals. This makes sense, since Boonstra is from the Ann Arbor area, as is Rick Synder. Boonstra resides in Dexter, which is just outside of Ann Arbor, and is also the location of the property he shares with the “Obamacare victim”.
Boonstra was also the Washtenaw County GOP Chair.
From his bio, “Boonstra has served as senior principal for the Miller Canfield law firm, located on Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor, since 1985. He previously worked as a law clerk for Judge Ralph B. Guy Jr. of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan.”
The law prohibits coordination between a political party or candidate’s campaign and a PAC. This is exactly what got True the Vote in trouble, when the tea party group was ruled by a judge to have engaged in illegal activities by supporting Republicans in Texas. This same group then presented themselves as “victims” of the IRS, and the media sold that to the people as proof of the IRS targeting conservatives. This lie has since been thoroughly debunked.
Mr. Boonstra’s close association with the debunked ‘Obamacare victim’ in the ad brings up the question of whether or not the Republican Party is coordinating their ads with Americans for Prosperity. If they are, that’s a violation of the law. And it also suggests that it’s not that easy to find someone to star in their ads full of lies.
In this case, it’s tough not to feel for Julie Boonstra, who is already in a fight with cancer. To add insult to injury, she was then used in a commercial notorious for being deceptive. Most likely she had no idea of the facts, and is just another misled victim of the corporate campaign to steal healthcare from the people. The people who used her thusly owe her a public apology. She got it wrong, but she was scared. People who knew better exploited her.
The attention should be on Boonstra’s association with the GOP party chair, and whether or not he coordinated with Julie Boonstra or AFP or the Koch Brothers or their associates in any way in order to create this ad.
Note: EclectaBlog has a screengrab of the property records in which they redacted personal info, which I verified directly. I am not linking to those records directly for privacy reasons.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.