A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

PA Congressman Resorts to Smear Campaign

Rep. Tim Holden falsely claimed in a recent TV ad that his opponent won a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in exchange for campaign contributions to a corrupt judge. In fact, a jury — not the judge — awarded $3 million to lawyer Matt Cartwright’s client in that case. The Holden campaign told us it had no evidence to prove the donation had any influence over the judge during that trial. The campaign pulled the ad after just one day on the air.

Immigration Inflation

An ad running in San Diego and on MSNBC claims immigration will cause a rise in U.S. population equal to that of the American West within 30 years. That’s not true. The increase is projected to be substantial, but nowhere near that high, even counting the children and grandchildren of newly arriving immigrants, legal or illegal.
A group called Californians for Population Stabilization began running the ad April 17, pegging it to Earth Day, which is April 22.

‘Death Panels’ Redux

Q: Did an emergency-room physician in a Tennessee hospital say the new health care law is currently denying dialysis to some Medicare patients, and will deny care to those over 75 in 2013?
A: No. A spokesman for the hospital says the doctor never said the things attributed to her in a chain email, and they are not true. A guest in the doctor’s home fabricated the account.

Fouling Lugar’s Foe

The Republican primary for Sen. Richard Lugar’s seat is apparently too close for comfort. Both Lugar’s campaign and the American Action Network are airing misleading attack ads against Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, the senator’s challenger for the nomination. The ads strain the facts to make Mourdock look like a tax cheat who makes bad investments and does not show up for work.

The AAN ad claims that “Hoosier pensions and other funds lost millions” because of Mourdock’s “big bet on junk bonds.”

The Facts About ‘Fat Cats’

Even though we are serious-minded fact-checkers, we are not completely without humor, and MoveOn.org’s latest TV ad on “fat cats” and the “Buffett Rule” is pretty funny. But the ad may leave an im-purr-fect impression. One that’s off by more than a whisker.
The TV ad says, “President Obama’s Buffett Rule would require millionaires and billionaires to pay the same tax rate as the rest of us.” But on average “millionaires and billionaires” already pay more than the rest of us,

Freedom Path

A conservative group with ties to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and former Nevada Sen. John Ensign.

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of April 10-16

This week, readers sent us letters about adjusting federal spending for inflation, and considering the need for costly regulations.
In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the email we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

What Priorities USA Action Doesn’t Tell You

A pro-Obama super PAC’s new TV ad portrays Mitt Romney as a past and future threat to middle-class families. The statements it makes about Romney’s business dealings and tax proposals contain some truth — but don’t tell the whole story:

The ad says Romney is proposing “a huge new $150,000 tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent.” But Romney’s plan would cut tax rates by 20 percent for all taxpayers, not just the wealthiest. Also, that $150,000 tax cut may be inflated because it does not include Romney’s unspecified plans to eliminate some current tax preferences —

Romney Misfires with EPA Anecdote

Mitt Romney railed against the “Obama EPA” and “how the Obama government interferes with personal freedom” — using as his example an EPA action taken in 2007, under President George W. Bush.
Furthermore, it was a Republican-nominated federal judge who made the initial ruling — in EPA’s favor — that was overturned recently by the Supreme Court.
At issue was a longstanding Environmental Protection Agency precedent regarding a property owner’s right to challenge an EPA compliance order in court,