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Dem PAC slammed for 'sick' attack on domestic violence survivor Sen. Joni Ernst


The group's goal is to flip the Republican lawmaker's seat

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

A Democratic political action committee has been accused of stooping too low in their attempt to smear a Republican over policy differences on the Violence Against Women Act, when they accused Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) of "not serving the needs of domestic violence victims" — when she is a survivor herself.

What are the details?

The VAWA's funding lapsed earlier this year, and rather than reauthorizing the law as it previously stood, the Democrat-led House passed a version with additional provisions such as gun control measures.

Since then, Sen. Ernst has been working with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to find a viable bipartisan version of the bill for the upper chamber. But those talks broke down earlier this month, leading Feinstein to introduce the House version. Ernst blocked the move, insisting the proposed legislation was a waste of time because it would not pass the Senate.

In response, Senate Majority PAC tweeted Thursday, "Unlike @joniernst's version of VAWA, the Senate Democrats VAWA bill actually expands protections for the LGBT community and Native American victims of domestic violence."

The PAC — linked to allies of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) — added that Ernst "is sending a message that she's not serving the needs of domestic violence victims and those in the most vulnerable communities. Iowans and victims of domestic violence deserve better than Senator Ernst."

The Twittersphere was quick to point out that Ernst, herself, is not only a domestic violence survivor but a rape survivor. Conservative writer and radio show host Erick Erickson called the PAC's attack "sick."

In response to the tweets, Ernst told reporters in Iowa on Thursday, "I do not need to be mansplained by Chuck Schumer...I am a survivor. I'm not afraid of anyone, folks. I have been through the worst and I am here today."

Anything else?

On Thursday morning, Ernst had touted her own version of the bill on Twitter, telling followers, "As a survivor, protecting women from violence and abuse is incredibly important to me. It's shocking that @SenSchumer is blocking my VAWA bill that:

Triples resources for rape prevention

Addresses female genital mutilation

Puts stricter penalties on child sex abuse."

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