Top Republican groups released web videos attacking President Barack Obama last week with an emphasis on the president's record on green-energy investments, particularly his use of stimulus dollars -- but the claims don't pass the Pinocchio test.
The American Future Fund and Americans For Prosperity both released ads hitting the Obama campaign with claims that have been debunked by numerous fact-checking organizations, as well as citing erroneous news reports that have since been withdrawn. The two Republican groups, which are expected to spend up to $8 million in battleground states, use many of the same statistics to make outsized claims about the administration's misuse of "billions" of stimulus dollars overseas.
WATCH: The political ads below
For instance, both videos cite a Washington Times article to make the claim that American jobs and tax credits have been sent overseas, when in fact the article states that money "went to foreign firms that employed workers primarily in countries including China, South Korea and Spain, rather than in the United States" -- a very different claim.
That information came from American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop, and the report's author Russ Choma wrote in a blog post that it's practically impossible to say whether the money was spent creating jobs in China. "Some of those foreign-owned turbine manufacturers have factories in the United States and some American-owned turbine manufacturers have factories overseas," he wrote. "We simply don't know where all of the parts were made."
A claim made in The American Future Fund ad was even more blatant in its distortions. The ad claims GSA Administrator Martha Johnson skipped meetings in Las Vegas in order to meet with officials at Solyndra, the California-based solar company that went bankrupt last year. That assertion was based on an ABC news report that was not accurate and has since been corrected. The top of the new piece now says in an update that "sources provided ABC News with records and documentation showing Martha Johnson did not travel to California to meet with Solyndra, and was in Virginia and Oregon for other meetings and activities."
The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler sums up the situation, saying the ads don't pass the Pinocchio test. "One can certainly raise questions about how stimulus funding was used and whether it was effective," he wrote. "But there is no excuse for these kinds of ads, which take facts out of context or simply invent them. These groups should be especially ashamed, given that these claims have been previously debunked, or, in the case of the erroneous ABC report, withdrawn."
Americans for Prosperity's new TV ad
American Future Fund's new TV ad
CORRECTION: A previous headline on this article incorrectly referred to these groups as "super PACs," when they are in fact 501(c)(4)s.
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