Political ad put to the truth test

October 31, 2008 7:30:53 PM PDT
In our latest truth test, we check an ad that's on the airwaves from a congressman up for re-election. On Thursday, we looked at Michael Skelly's ad. And now, we turn to his opponent, John Culberson. In these final days of the election, you don't see much of the candidates in their ads, but you sure hear a lot about their opponent.

"I'm John Culberson and I approved this message," the ad says.

That's all we see of Congressman John Culberson in the ad. Two seconds in, it's off to the attacks.

"What kind of businessman is Michael Skelly? Skelly made his millions on the backs of taxpayers," the ad contends.

That's a previously made attack on Skelly. Skelly's company got federal subsidies, but it's not true to say he made millions from taxpayers. "Kelly gave campaign contributions to liberal politicians who helped his company bypass U.S. military opposition to his project," the ad continues.

Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows Michael Skelly made three contributions to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin in 2007. Durbin was pushing the military to drop opposition to wind farms. Skelly was in the wind business.

The Washington Post reported the Pentagon feared windmills would interfere with military radar. But the three donations total $2,500, which to a politician is virtually nothing. So the truth meter throws up a question mark on a connection there.

"Worse, Skelly wants the government to seize your land so that companies like his can profit," the ad says.

This is complicated, but here's the basics. Companies like Skelly's make money operating wind farms, but to get wind power to you they need big power lines. The government builds those and sometimes uses eminent domain to get the land to build them.

That's true whether it's wind or natural gas or coal power. So you can decide if the Skelly candidacy is dangerous to your property rights.

"Taxpayers can't afford Michael Skelly in Congress," the ad concludes.

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