McGinty Slams Toomey Again Over Wall Street Ties. Will It Win Her Swing Voters?

With only 31 days left till the election, the Senate race is still tight.

Katie McGinty, Pat Toomey

Left: Katie McGinty photo by Donald Derosa, used under a Creative Commons license. Right: Pat Toomey, Official Portrait

Democratic Senate candidate Katie McGinty held a conference call with reporters Friday morning to criticize incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, after Politico reported that he owned shares in a bank that engaged in an uncommon mortgage foreclosure practice while he served on the Senate’s banking committee.

Toomey co-founded the bank in question, Team Capital Bank, in 2005, and owned between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in shares while he was on the committee from 2010 to 2014, according to the report. In 2013, the bank was sold to Provident Bank, in which Toomey still owns shares. (The Politico story is behind a paywall, but McGinty’s campaign, well, de-paywalled it.)

The Web site reported that there doesn’t appear to be anything illegal about either Toomey’s ownership of shares or the said banking practice, which allowed the bank to foreclose on homes used as collateral by business owners with little notice to the owner. The actions also apparently don’t violate Senate ethics rules. So the report isn’t truly a bombshell. And yet McGinty’s campaign is looking to make hay.

“Today’s story really removes all doubt about where the senator’s loyalties and interests are,” McGinty said this morning. Also on Friday, the Democratic Senate Majority PAC released a TV ad attacking Toomey on financial policy and referring to the Politico story.

Going into the homestretch, will hammering on Toomey’s ties to the banking industry be a winning strategy?

Perhaps. On the one hand, elected officials don’t usually go around parading their connections to banks. And in this campaign season, Bernie Sanders ran a remarkably successful insurgent presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton, partly by repeatedly attacking her for her Wall Street ties and paid speeches to Goldman Sachs.

But on the other hand, it’s no secret (and it never has been) that Toomey once worked on Wall Street. If the McGinty campaign had something juicier — some evidence of real self-dealing, for instance — surely she’d be calling attention to it. And for its part, the Toomey campaign points out that the Politico report doesn’t suggest that Toomey used his banking committee membership to help Team Capital Bank.

Still, with a month left until the election, this news plays into McGinty’s narrative. She has tried to portray Toomey as a creature of Wall Street who only uses his office to serve the banking industry. Toomey, meanwhile, has attempted to paint McGinty as creature of government with a history of questionable ethics.

The last week has seen the release of three widely divergent polls for this Senate race — one showing Toomey up by eight points, one showing McGinty up by six, and another showing them in a dead heat. McGinty’s team is looking to shore up support by tying Toomey to Wall Street over the next 31 days. Outside groups seem to be doing the same.

“Pat Toomey followed every rule, while Katie McGinty’s actions in Harrisburg were denounced by the State Ethics Commission and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court,” said Toomey’s communications director Ted Kwong, in response to the Politico story. “Shady Katie’s phony charges are getting more and more desperate as her campaign sinks.”

Meanwhile, Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump in Pennsylvania looks stable. Toomey and McGinty have tried to portray each other as being in lockstep with their respective parties’ presidential nominees. But while McGinty has embraced Clinton, Toomey is still mealymouthed on Trump.

Follow @JaredBrey on Twitter.