MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) –  WCCO hosted a debate between Democratic Sen. Al Franken and Republican challenger Mike McFadden at 10 a.m. Sunday. 

In the sixth question, Franken brought the fight over McFadden’s business background to the debate. The incumbent senator and his Democratic allies have tried to turn McFadden’s career at Lazard Middle Market against him. Most recently, Franken released an ad featuring laid-off workers from a Montana paper mill that was closed, the ad says, after McFadden’s firm restructured the company’s debt.

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McFadden’s campaign says a different branch of the parent company was involved in that deal, which Lazard Middle Market’s website featured until Franken’s ad debuted last week.

“You have spent millions of dollars attacking me on the air with patently false ads,” McFadden said. “Minnesotans are so tired of these attacks.”

The Republican businessman again distanced himself from a merger Lazard worked on in 2011 that resulted in an American pharmaceutical company moving its corporate home to Ireland.

Franken didn’t buy it. “If you’re a CEO and you don’t take control of what your company does, what are you going to do as a senator?” he asked.

Watch the video above for the candidates’ full answers. Here’s the sixth question of the debate.

Mr. McFadden, you’ve talked about closing loopholes. You want to close every loophole there is.

Isn’t it a loophole that an organization like the NFL has tax exempt status?

There’s 17,000 loopholes that have been put into the tax code since it was revised in 1986. I think it would be an exercise in futility to sit there and say, ‘Which of the 17,000 are we going to get rid of?’ I think the right way to do it is with a blank sheet of paper and do it in a non-partisan way, sitting across the aisle from people saying, ‘This is going to be revenue neutral,’ because we have $17,5 trillion of debt, but we need to dramatically change the tax code, and we need to be guided by two principles: simplicity and transparency.

Sen. Franken’s response:

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This is where we have a fundamental difference. I voted to get rid of tax loopholes for companies that outsource jobs oversees. We used that to pay for 2,800 teachers in Minnesota, this was at the height of the Great Recession. He criticized that vote. I have made legislation to prevent inversions that I have co-sponsored. His company has taken advantage of inversions.

Watch full answers in the video above.

The Franken-McFadden Debate On WCCO

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