A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Republican Mailers Mislead in New Mexico

New Mexico’s Republican Party misleads in two mailers attacking the state’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, two-term Rep. Martin Heinrich.

One mailer states that “New Mexico workers have a jobs problem.” But the state’s unemployment rate is 6.4 percent, well below the national rate, or the 8 percent figure the flier displays.
Another flier claims that Heinrich voted for the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for “everyone.” Heinrich actually supported a bill that preserved the tax cuts for everyone except high-income taxpayers.

State Amendment Scare Tactics

In a TV ad to Michigan voters, a group goes too far when it claims a proposed state constitutional amendment to protect union rights “would eliminate safety rules for school bus drivers.”
The ad also fails to tell the whole story when it claims the amendment “could prohibit schools from removing employees with criminal records.”
The 3-page ballot measure contains a provision stating that no existing or future state law “shall abridge, impair or limit” a public employee union’s rights to negotiate wages,

NRCC Claims Democrat Will End Medicare

The National Republican Congressional Committee misleads in a TV ad that claims a Democratic candidate for Congress supports “eliminating Medicare entirely.”
David Gill, who is running for a House seat in Illinois, supports a universal health care plan that would cover all Americans — ending the need for a stand-alone Medicare program. The federal government would still provide coverage to seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries under the proposal.
The NRCC’s ad contains three more claims that fail to tell the whole story or are misleading.

Mailer Misleads Ohioans on Job Losses

In a mailer to Ohioans, a conservative group distorts Ohio’s job figures under President Obama and misquotes his administration about the potential for mismanaged stimulus money.
Ironically, the mailing from Americans for Tax Reform, a nonprofit group led by Grover Norquist, proclaims that it’s “important for Ohio to get the whole picture.”
We couldn’t agree more.

The mailer displays a 2012 newspaper headline, “Ohio second-worst for job losses.” But the article was about job losses over the last 10 years —

Rush’s Ruse in Missouri

In a campaign-funded radio ad to Missouri voters, Rush Limbaugh claimed the state’s lieutenant governor “banned taxpayer-funded travel for politicians” when he led the state Senate. Not really.
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who is Limbaugh’s friend, spearheaded a moratorium on paying travel expenses for state senators, not all “politicians.” The ban affected only out-of-state travel and failed to affect taxpayer-funded travel within Missouri, which is a far greater cost.
Furthermore, the ban expired after one year.

Mailers Mislead on ‘Obamacare’ Opt-Out Amendment

A conservative group misleads Kansas voters in campaign mailers that claim a failed proposal to amend the state’s Constitution would have allowed residents to opt-out of “Obamacare.”
No state law can do that. The U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause explicitly states that federal law is the “supreme Law of the Land.”
The proposed Kansas Health Care Freedom Amendment, like several similar state proposals and laws, declared that no law can compel Kansans to buy health insurance or require them to pay a fine for lacking it.

Senator Mangles Facts on Drilling Moratorium

In an email to constituents, Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana claims “the Obama administration shut down the entire offshore oil and gas industry” after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. That’s not true.
The administration halted the drilling of all new wells for one month. And the Interior Department issued a months-long moratorium on deepwater drilling. New safety requirements also slowed down the permitting process for shallow-water drilling.
But existing offshore wells continued to pump out natural gas and oil.

Florida Primary Flier Frames Republican

In a primary battle between two House Republicans, a Florida congressman claims in a campaign mailer that his opponent was someone President Barack Obama “counted on” to “approve” stimulus spending. Not really. The mailer’s target, Sandy Adams, is a freshman congresswoman who arrived in Washington nearly two years after the stimulus passed into law.
The flier’s evidence — in fine print — is Adams’ record in the Florida legislature. As a state representative, she voted to approve two state budgets,

Group Blows Fuse With Electric Bill Claim

A conservative group goes too far in TV ads that claim a new EPA regulation on coal power plants will make Ohio’s electric bills “skyrocket.” Utility officials say it’s too soon to determine how big the impact will be.
Nationally, projections from the Energy Information Administration show only a slight fluctuation in the residential price of electricity over the long run. The EIA factored in the regulation in its projections.
There’s reason to believe there might be more of an impact in price in Ohio,

PAC’s Email Spreads Energy Conspiracy Theory

In a fundraising email, a conservative PAC claims President Barack Obama is raising natural gas prices to pay for failed green energy companies. But the letter offers only false claims and twisted facts to support this conspiracy theory.

The email says Solar Trust of America, a now-bankrupt company, received “the second largest loan ever handed out by the Department of Energy.” STA never took a government-backed dime. The firm was conditionally approved for the financing, but ultimately turned it down.