Friday, May 24, 2013

FACT CHECK UPDATES: National Fact Checks Give Four Pinocchios To Gosar, Defend Flake; Franks & EMILY's List Get Local Treatment

Yesterday turned out to be a big day in fact-checking for Arizona politicians.  Besides the small blip made by Arizona's Politics' Fact Check on the Trent Franks/EMILY's List e-mail battle, the national fact checking organizations took on Rep. Paul Gosar's grilling of the former IRS Commissioner and the omni-present ad attacking Sen. Jeff Flake for his letter to the Arizona mother of a victim of the Aurora mass murder (and his subsequent vote).

Arizona's Politics' article accompanying the complete video of Gosar's (R-CD4) questioning of Doug Shulman noted that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had said that he had obtained information about GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney's tax history from a Bain investor - not from a IRS/government source.  The fact check by the Washington Post's "The Fact Checker" (Glenn Kessler) emphasizes that hole in Gosar's line of questioning, along with the widely-accepted information from Romney's accountants that the nominee had, in fact, paid state and federal taxes in every year in question;  thus, the claim by Reid had been false and could not have come from a leak.

The Fact Checker thus gives Gosar the same rating it gave Reid last year: Four Pinocchios.  That is described as "a whopper" of a lie.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) fares much better in's article on the omni-present ad running in Arizona.  Mayors Against Illegal Guns, bankrolled primarily by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has been attacking Flake for his vote against the Manchin-Toomey Amendment that would have expanded the use of background checks before the purchase of firearms.

It features Caren Teves, the mother of one of the victims in last year's shooting rampage in a Colorado movie theater.  She has questioned Sen. McCain at a town hall, and received a responsive letter from Flake that has become the subject of this ad (below). finds that the ad blurs the definition of "strengthening background checks" - which is the term Flake used.  Teves and MAIG believe that the Manchin-Toomey Amendment was a compromise measure that was the test for that commitment; Flake believed his vote for the Grassley Amendment was the correct way of "strengthening background checks".

Therefore, concludes that Flake did NOT break a promise to "strengthen background checks", as the ad claims.

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