Hook, Line & Sinker Fact-Check: Gerson’s Claim About Kline’s Authorship of Bills False; Earns Score of Dead Fish

HookLineSInker2David Gerson is challenging Congressman John Kline for the Republican Party of Minnesota’s endorsement in the 2nd Congressional District. I’ll be writing more in the next week about the race between Kline & Gerson, but I’m starting with a few fact-checks on the messaging points used by Gerson and Kline.

On a section of the campaign’s website, Gerson lists numerous “…Facts About John Kline”, including the statement:


“During his 12 years in office, Kline has never authored a bill that has become law.” Source: Gerson for Congress, David’s Blog, Accessed March 4, 2014 

I contacted Gerson’s campaign via-email and asked for a source to support their claim that “…Kline has never authored a bill that has become law.” I received the following statement from David:

The following statement is directly from Wikipedia (John Kline):
“In his time in office, Kline has sponsored eight bills, on such diverse topics as Veterans’ Day and tribal lands. Only one has made it out of the House, and none have been passed into law.[14]”    
I cut and pasted it live just now, so this is still the statement.  But, we have had people tell us that John has authored one bill which has been passed into law.  We have not figured out which one, and feel it is not worth the fight as his voting record is what we really want to talk about.  So, we are no longer stating that he has never authored a bill that has become a law (though we have not found evidence yet that he has).

Gerson’s campaign is sourcing Wikipedia, which is a free Internet encyclopedia and is collaboratively edited, sometimes anonymously. The credibility of Wikipedia’s use in academics and research is even questioned by editors at Wikipedia. From the “Academic Use” section of Wikipedia:

Wikipedia is not considered a credible source. Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic community, from freshman students to professors, as an easily accessible tertiary source for information about anything and everything. However, citation of Wikipedia in research papers may be considered unacceptable, because Wikipedia is not considered a credible or authoritative source.

Independent of the information I received from Gerson’s campaign, I searched Congress.gov, which “is the official source for federal legislative information” about details on Kline’s bill authorship since he was elected to Congress. According to Congress.gov, Kline has sponsored or cosponsored 72 individual bills or resolutions that have become law.

DavidGersonHeadshotThe claim from Gerson’s campaign that “…Kline has never authored a bill that has become law.” is completely false. Gerson’s campaign was not able to provide any credible information to support their claim, but more importantly, the campaign had specific doubts about the claim they were making about Kline’s record. The claim from Gerson’s campaign receives a score of a Dead Fish – the equivalent of “liar, liar – pants on fire.”


The highest score a fact-check statement can receive on politics.mn is Four Bobbers. If you’d like a political advertisement or statement fact-checked, please send me an e-mail via the contact page on politics.mn. Is my review fair? Leave a comment on politics.mn.

UPDATE: After contacting Gerson’s campaign today about the claim, which appeared on their website earlier today, that “…Kline has never authored a bill that has become law”, the campaign removed this claim from their website.


  1. It seems as though Gerson has his hands full today. Looks like he was already dealing with a phony Twitter invasion, and now he gets hit with “Dead Fish” status.

  2. Hmm…I find this “claim” that Kline has not authored/sponsored bills that have passed an interesting one. For people like me (that want limited government intrusion in my life) the not authoring bills is a good thing. My hat goes off to people in Congress have pass fewer laws not write more.

    Even if this were true, why would that be a negative?

  3. Since Gerson was going around using the lie about Kline as part of his rambling stump speech and also posted it on his campaign website, he thought it was important.

    Also, if you do not like a government agency or program, you have to pass a law to abolish it.
    They do not go away just by doing nothing.
    You have to get a law passed to reduce or remove government.

  4. Of course, John Kline authored bills that became law … otherwise what Minnesotans call the Dennison, Minnesota “Albert H. Quie Post Office” or the “Hamilton H. Judson Post Office”in Farmington ?
    Based on that criteria, John Kline is a more effective legislator than Michele Bachmann whose H.R. 43 “Officer Tommy Decker Memorial Post Office” for Cold Springs is still sitting in committee.

    Yet in fairness to Chairman Kline, many bills go through so many iterations that a bill he sponsored may get incorporated into some other bill … so the listing that you site is immaterial.
    Also, Chairman Kline has allowed other Members of his Education and Workforce Committee to be the lead sponsor just so when somebody does a review as done here, the Member gets the credit … other Chairman have their name on the bills.

    IMO, the quantity of bills is immaterial … would you be happy if he had hundreds of bills instead … shouldn’t he be judged on what he campaigned to do ?

    As I recall, in the last campaign, the only Kline For Congress television commercial during the 2012 campaign was John Kline telling voters that we needed a balanced budget amendment. Thus, the question, why hasn’t John Kline been able to get the Republican-controlled House to vote on House Resolution #1 or House Resolution #2 — both are designed to ensure a balanced budget. Of course, when you read the resolutions, it also states that there is a five-year period before taking effect … and would demand either extensive tax increases or severe spending reductions.

    IMO, don’t focus on the bills authored but instead on what he has voted for or against … and not the final bill as that may be so compromised that it distorts his agenda.

  5. I fought shoulder to shoulder with John Kline in the battle against Grenada in 1983 when it tried to steal our freedom. I lost my eye in the battle and Kline was there to comfort me and promised that if he ever got into Congress he would bring a bill for the government to give me a new eye. He has not followed through on this promise but I forgive him. The trillions he voted to give to banks in the banker bailout is proof enough of his patriotism.

    I don’t know who this Gerson guy is, but I don’t think he understands freedom and how precious it is and how easily it can be taken away. Where was Gerson when our freedoms where being attacked by Grenada? Panama?

  6. American Patriot says:

    It’s disappointing that Gerson is the best the “Ron Paul People” can do. This guy sounds like a stooge. No doubt Kline is an agent of the crime syndicate that runs the government, but this Gerson dude isn’t going to do anything to beat him and will only make people who are not possessed by evil look weaker.

    FreedomVet: Thank you for your service and I am sorry about your eye. I wish Kline would have kept his promise and drafted a bill for your to get a new eye. Maybe if he gets re-elected he will make this eye for FreedomVet bill a priority.

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