A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Case of the Sleeping Justice

Another election, another set of bare-fisted battles for state Supreme Court seats. Think the presidential campaign ads were uncivil and misleading? Well…they were. But so were those put on the air by judicial candidates and their backers, who no longer blink at spending in the millions of dollars. Final tallies aren’t in yet, but in the last week before Nov. 4, $5 million was spent on ads in these races, more than in 2006, according to figures compiled by the Brennan Center for Justice.

Special Favors from Nancy Pelosi?

Q: Did Nancy Pelosi get wage breaks and tax credits for the American Samoan operations of a company in which her husband owns $17 million worth of stock?
A: This widely e-mailed claim is false. Pelosi’s husband doesn’t own that stock, despite what a bogus Wikipedia entry briefly claimed. Furthermore, American Samoa never got the minimum wage exemption it sought.

Soft on Crime in Georgia?

As Georgians count the days until the Senate run-off election Dec. 2, the ad wars rage on. The National Republican Senatorial Committee and Freedom’s Watch attack Democratic challenger Jim Martin as soft on crime, citing carefully chosen votes from his days as a state representative. But neither group is telling the whole story

Tickets to History

Q: How can one get inauguration tickets?
A: Tickets to watch the swearing-in can be requested through the Washington, D.C., offices of an individual’s representative or senators. But you’ll need some luck to score one.

Peach State Piffle

If you non-Georgians thought the election went on for too long in your state, pity the poor souls in Georgia who are still being bombarded with political ads. Incumbent Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Democratic challenger Jim Martin, a former state representative and head of the Georgia Dept. of Human Resources, along with their parties’ senatorial committees, are continuing to wage a misleading ad war. Any post-election, let’s-all-work-together-now spirit won’t reach Georgia until several days after Thanksgiving, at the earliest.

IRAs, 401(k)s and You

Q: Are congressional Democrats talking about confiscating IRA and 401(k) investment accounts?
A: No. There’s no plan to seize these accounts. One House witness at a committee hearing proposed to allow some people to trade their old accounts for a new type that would be less risky.

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Felons in Elected Office

Q: Can a convicted felon serve in elected office?
A: The Constitution allows a convicted felon to be a member of Congress, even if in prison. It’s up to the Senate or House to decide who may serve. As for state offices, different laws apply in different places.

Virginia’s Military Absentee Ballots

Q: Was the deadline for absentee ballots from military members extended in Virginia?
A: A hearing is scheduled Dec. 8 to decide whether Virginia election officials should count absentee ballots that arrived late. In response to a lawsuit filed before Election Day by John McCain’s campaign, a judge had ordered officials to keep such ballots until the matter was resolved.

Obama’s ‘National Security Force?’

Q: Is Obama planning a Gestapo-like “civilian national security force”?
A: This false claim is a badly distorted version of Obama’s call for doubling the Peace Corps, creating volunteer networks and increasing the size of the Foreign Service.