A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Primary Piffle in North Carolina

In the final week of a hotly fought Republican primary in North Carolina, one congressional candidate accuses his rival — in a mailer sent to GOP voters — of being a “Big Money Donor” to Democrats. And he accuses another of breaking a tax pledge. But we find both claims by wealthy businessman and former state Sen. Robert Pittenger are off the mark.
In truth, financial adviser Dan Barry, the supposed “Big Money Donor,” contributed to 11 Republicans and only two Democrats in national races between 2003 and 2011.

Freedom Path

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

Blurring the Record in Utah

A group supporting Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch claims in a TV ad that a Republican challenger “voted to allow state employees to double dip, collecting a pension and a pay check.” That’s a gross exaggeration. Hatch’s opponent, former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, actually authored a bill in the state Senate to ban double dipping.
The ad’s claim is based on the fact that the bill later was amended to allow the practice to continue on a smaller,

Spotlight On: Charles Bertram

When Charles Bertram received a letter from Mitt Romney asking him for money, the Floridian was amused. Bertram is a Democrat — and has been since the late 1970s.
“There was a line in there or something about liberals that just galled me,” the 60-year-old said.
Bertram uploaded the letter to the Spin Detectors website. We found several of the letter’s claims to be false, including Romney’s claim that the rates of unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies are “soaring”

Romney Fundraising Pitch Skews Stats

In a March fundraising letter to Floridians, Mitt Romney skews economic statistics under President Barack Obama. Among the letter’s claims:

Romney says the numbers for unemployment, bankruptcies and foreclosures are “soaring.” That’s simply not true. They all started rising sharply under Bush, continued to rise for a time under Obama, but then peaked and are currently declining.

Romney claims Obama stood over “the greatest job loss in modern American history.” But more jobs were lost under his predecessor.

McConnell Misreads Oil Report

Mitch McConnell incorrectly claimed that oil production is “up 96 percent on state-owned land and private land,” which isn’t close to being true. Production rose 11 percent on those lands in fiscal year 2011, the period to which McConnell alluded. Even over the last five fiscal years, the rise has been 15 percent — not even one-sixth as large as he claimed.
The Senate Republican Leader’s flub occurred on CNN’s “State of the Union” April 1.

Spotlight On: John Totten

John Totten said he often looks out for his friends and family by emailing them FactCheck.org articles.
When he came across a conservative group’s TV ad about North Carolina’s budget battle, Totten thought of a cousin who lives in that state and uploaded the video to Spin Detectors.
We found that Americans for Prosperity omitted some important information in its ad attacking the Democratic governor and praising the Republican-controlled state legislature. For example, the ad says the legislature added state funding for “2,000 more teachers” and that its budget “adds teachers.” But the legislature’s increased funding didn’t make up for the loss of federal money and discretionary state funds that local districts use to hire teachers.

Inflated Claims in North Carolina Budget Battle

A conservative group omits some important details in a TV ad attacking North Carolina’s lame-duck Democratic governor and praising the Republican-controlled state General Assembly during a partisan budget battle.

The ad says the legislature added state funding for “2,000 more teachers” and that its budget “adds teachers.” But the legislature’s increased funding didn’t make up for the loss of federal money and discretionary state funds that local districts use to hire teachers. The state had a net loss of about 900 teachers overall.

Romney Flubs Farmers Claim

Mitt Romney claims the Obama administration is telling farmers “what their 15-year-old sons and daughters can and can’t do on the family farm.” That’s not true. If anything, the Labor Department was considering telling farmers what their children can and cannot do on farms that others own or operate. And the department has since promised to weaken that language.
In an effort to strengthen child labor regulations, the Labor Department proposed controversial new language that would have allowed children under 16 to work only on farms owned or operated by their parents.

Truth-Twisting Tweets

In tweets to her followers, Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley claims her Republican opponent for U.S. Senate voted to “kill Medicare” and to “effectively ban contraception.” Both statements are untrue.
Sen. Dean Heller supported failed Republican legislation that would have substantially changed Medicare — in 2022 — to a program that subsidizes private insurance plans for seniors. But the entitlement would not have ended. Heller also voted for the so-called “Blunt amendment,” which would have allowed an employer to deny coverage of specific items or services contrary to the employer’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.