A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

SEIU Distorts Halvorson’s Record in Illinois Race

A radio ad from the Service Employees International Union grossly distorts the voting record of former Rep. Debbie Halvorson in the final days of the Democratic primary to fill the House seat left vacant by Jesse Jackson Jr.’s resignation. The union claims:

Halvorson “voted against extending unemployment benefits for millions of Americans.” That’s false. Congress extended or expanded the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program seven times while Halvorson was in the House, and she voted to approve each bill.

Labor Attack in Ohio Governor’s Race

The Service Employees International Union claims that GOP gubernatorial candidate John Kasich, a former Lehman Brothers executive, "got rich, while Ohio seniors lost their pension money" in an ad that makes a weak attempt to connect Kasich to the pension losses.
It’s true that Kasich, who’s running against Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, made a hefty sum working for the financial firm in 2008, the same year it collapsed. And he admits to setting up meetings between Lehman and state pension officials.

New Mexico and Arkansas Races

In episode 13 of FactCheck Radio, we look at a Republican ad that was condemned by the head of the GOP in New Mexico. Plus, we debunk labor union ads attacking Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, and we update listeners on claims about Muslims and the health care law.
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For more on the stories discussed in this episode,

Labor Falsely Attacks Lincoln. Again.

New TV spots from two labor unions try to paint Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas as a slick politician who has done the bidding of big-business donors, such as oil companies. But the claims just don’t stick. One ad claims Lincoln “helped George Bush and Dick Cheney give oil and gas companies …

Congressional Races in Pennsylvania and Arkansas

In episode 11 of FactCheck Radio, we look at false and misleading ads in two congressional races: a special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th district, and the Democratic Senate primary in Arkansas. Both elections are May 18.


A union-sponsored ad charges that Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s support of "unfair" trade deals "made it impossible for American workers to compete." But several economic studies say trade deals, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, have had a small impact, or even a positive one, on American jobs.

As we said last week, this ad starts with a true claim about union workers at a Cooper Tire plant making wage concessions to ward off a threatened closure.

Labor, More So Than Lincoln, Saved Arkansas Jobs

In the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary, an ad from Sen. Blanche Lincoln claims that "she saved 1,700 Cooper Tire employees from losing their jobs to Chinese imports." But a labor union supporting her more liberal opponent countered with an ad in which a Cooper Tire worker says: "We saved our own jobs and we had to take big pay cuts to do it." We find the labor claim to be true, and Lincoln’s to be a bit of an exaggeration.

More Pre-Summit Hype

A group partly supported by the Service Employees International Union is out with an ad that criticizes insurance companies and asks: "If health reform fails THEN what?" The Foundation for Patients’ Rights TV spot highlights the well-publicized rate-hike (as high as 39 percent) that had been planned by California’s Anthem Blue Cross — and which was postponed after public criticism from the Obama administration. But the ad also includes this shaky claim about the insurance industry: "2.7 million Americans were denied coverage"