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Published on Oct 21, 2010
Anchor: ...Now to politics in the race that seems to get uglier by the day. And today accusations of economic treason prompted a new round of political jabs between the two candidates for U.S. Senate.
Anchor: ...Keeping the play by play going, NBC 5's Phil Rogers is here now with the latest jabs
Rogers: You know Allison, this started as a morning news conference where Alexi Giannoulias directly accused his opponent of selling his vote on a piece of tax legislation last spring, but the event did not go as the campaign planned.
Alexi: This is egregious and it can be called nothing other than an act of economic treason.
Rogers: At issue was a Mark Kirk conference call fundraiser with a dozen Americans living in China last May. The following day he voted against a bill which included provisions to close foreign tax loopholes.
Alexi: He raises money from corporate executives in Beijing one day and the next day sold out American jobs to China to return the favor.
Rogers: The problem is the Kirk fundraiser had been planned weeks before anyone ever knew when the vote would take place and it raised less than 6,000 dollars.
Rogers: 5,900 dollars raised from American citizens who happened to be in a different country and took part in a conference call -- that amounts to treason?
Alexi. If you look at the broader picture, if you look at who he takes money from and how he votes, yes.
Kirk: To label this as treason is really a desperate move by a campaign that's imploding.
Rogers: Kirk said the two were not related and suggested as a veteran he was insulted by the charges.
Kirk: I'm campaigning against a guy who has never served a day in his life. Using the word treason is really beyond the pail.
Rogers: Reporters reminded Giannoulias that he once raised campaign cash in Canada and his press conference went downhill almost from the beginning.
Lynn: You are giving the impression to people who might not know how the system works that he did something improper.
Alexi: I didn't say...
Rogers: Providing a virtual metaphor at one point, the candidate's sign fluttered from the wall. But he stuck to his treason charge and stopped just short of accusing Kirk of being an agent of the Chinese.
Alexi: He's running like he doesn't want to be the Senator from Illinois. He's running like he wants to be the Senator from Beijing.
Rogers: Now Mark Kirk says he voted against the tax loophole bill because it cost too much. Giannoulias contends it shows a long pattern of backing businesses as they ship jobs overseas. But the suggestion that Kirk had rewarded a dozen donors with a no vote on the legislation seemed to be at best -- a reach. And you might be happy to know that this election is now 12 days away.