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“Pennsylvania is under a court order to count their ballots on election day and not after!! A viral post on Facebook misreported the outcome of a court ruling about counting mail ballots in Pennsylvania. "Pennsylvania is under a court order to count their ballots on election day and not after!!" the Nov. 2 text post said. It appears to refer to a court ruling about whether to count mail or absentee ballots that lack dates or are incorrectly dated. State law requires voters to handwrite a date on their mail-in ballot’s outer envelope. But the commonwealth’s acting secretary, Leigh Chapman, wrote guidance to counties in September that stated "any ballot-return envelope that is undated or dated with an incorrect date" but was received on time shall be counted. State and national Republican groups including the Republican National Committee filed a petition in court challenging that state guidance. In Pennsylvania, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to vote by mail. On Nov. 1, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that counties must refrain from counting any absentee and mail-in ballots that have undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes. The court ordered the counties to segregate ballots with missing or incorrect dates. The court wrote that it was "evenly divided on the issue of whether failing to count such ballots" violates federal voting rights law. The idea behind the decision is to preserve those ballots in case they can be counted later. Chapman issued new guidance Nov. 3 telling local election officials to segregate undated or incorrectly dated ballots from other ballots. This Facebook post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Unlike what the Facebook post said, nothing in the Supreme Court’s two-page ruling addressed the deadline to count ballots. On Oct. 26, Chapman said on NBC’s "Meet the Press" that election results won’t be completed on election night. She has attributed the pace of the count to a state law that doesn’t allow election officials to begin processing mail and absentee ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day. Some states allow that process to begin weeks before Election Day. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 25, 2022 in an Instagram post The documentary “2,000 Mules proves” Democrats “cheated on the 2020 elections.” By Jon Greenberg • October 28, 2022 Adam Bonin, an election lawyer, said that a law passed by the General Assembly this year says counties that opted into a grant program — which is nearly all of them — "shall begin canvassing mail-in ballots and absentee ballots at 8 p.m. on election day and shall continue without interruption until each ballot has been canvassed." "That doesn't mean ‘must end by midnight,’" said Bonin, who represents the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the mail ballot case as an intervener-defendant. "Indeed, the same law says in the next clause, ‘no later than 12:01 a.m. on the day following the election, the county board of elections shall announce and post on its publicly accessible Internet website an unofficial number of absentee ballots and mail-in ballots received for the election.’ That implies that they know it won't be done by midnight and can't be." PolitiFact tried to reach attorneys who represented Republicans in the case but did not hear back by deadline. The timeline for counting ballots begins at 8:01 p.m. Election Day. Counties have until 5 p.m. Nov. 15 to submit unofficial returns to the commonwealth and certified returns Nov. 28. Our ruling A Facebook post said "Pennsylvania is under a court order to count their ballots on election day and not after!" That’s not what a Nov. 1 state Supreme Court ruling said — mail and absentee ballots must still be counted after 8:01 p.m., per law, and officials have a week to submit unofficial results. The court order said counties must segregate and refrain from counting any absentee and mail-in ballots that have undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes. The court ruling makes no mention of the timeline or deadline for counting ballots. We rate this statement Pants on Fire! PolitiFact researcher Caryn Baird and fact-checker Becca Schimmel contributed to this fact-check. RELATED: Ballots found in drop box before the voting period opened were legitimate, county official says RELATED: Not all results will be known on election night 2022. That’s normal RELATED: All of our fact-checks about Pennsylvan
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“Biden and Democrats have dismantled border security. Nevada’s Republican candidate for Senate, Adam Laxalt, launched an ad saying he will stand up to President Joe Biden and Democrats to "secure our border." The ad shows Laxalt walking near a southwest border fence with three men who appear to be border authorities. The 15-second TV ad claims, "Biden and Democrats have dismantled border security." "Biden’s allies won’t admit they opened our borders," the narrator said, followed by clips of Vice President Kamala Harris saying "the border is secure" and Laxalt’s opponent, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., saying "there’s no open borders." Is Laxalt right about Democrats having "dismantled border security"? No. Migrant encounters at the southwest border have hit historic highs. In fiscal year 2022, Border Patrol recorded more than 2.2 million encounters with migrants, compared to 1.7 million in 2021. But the increase in encounters isn’t a result of reduced funding at the border. A review of budget requests, staffing levels and immigration policy decisions show border security efforts have remained largely consistent under the Biden administration compared with under the Trump administration. Laxalt’s campaign did not respond to PolitiFact’s request for comment. Biden requested billions for Customs and Border Protection funding So far, the Biden administration has submitted budget requests to Congress for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. PolitiFact found that funding requests for Customs and Border Protection under the Biden and Trump administrations are comparable. Requests under Biden’s tenure don’t show that the administration is trying to tear down the agency. Over the Trump administration’s four years, funding requests for Customs and Border Protection averaged $15.5 billion a year. Over the Biden administration’s two years, funding requests for the agency averaged $15 billion a year. Ultimately, Congress determines how much money goes to executive agencies. For fiscal year 2022, the Democratic-controlled Congress appropriated $16.5 billion for the agency, a higher budget than the four enacted under Trump. We don’t yet know how much Congress will give Customs and Border Protection for its 2023 budget. The White House requested $14.8 billion for the agency in 2023. The Senate and House appropriations committees, led by Democrats, have introduced appropriations bills for the Department of Homeland Security, but have not yet voted on them. The Senate is considering giving the agency $16.5 billion and the House is considering $15.7 billion. !function(e,i,n,s){var t="InfogramEmbeds",d=e.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];if(window[t]&&window[t].initialized)window[t].process&&window[t].process();else if(!e.getElementById(n)){var o=e.createElement("script");o.async=1,o.id=n,o.src="https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js",d.parentNode.insertBefore(o,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async"); U.S. Border Patrol staffing levels haven’t plunged under Biden The number of Border Patrol agents peaked at more than 21,000 in 2011 under the Obama administration. Since then, staffing numbers have gone down, hovering around 19,000. During the Trump administration, the number of Border Patrol agents fluctuated between 19,430 and 19,740. Biden’s administration has had between 19,338 and 19,536 agents. CBP has long struggled with the hiring and retention of Border Patrol agents, partly because of low pay and the need for them to work in isolated, remote areas of the country. Staffing consistently stays below the level appropriated by Congress, said Josiah Heyman, director of the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies, at the University of Texas at El Paso. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 17, 2022 in an Instagram post There were two shooters in the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting. By Ciara O'Rourke • October 20, 2022 "You can't blame that on the Biden administration, because that turnover was happening long before Biden came in," Heyman said. Biden’s administration has requested $95 million from Congress to hire 300 additional Border Patrol agents in fiscal year 2023. !function(e,i,n,s){var t="InfogramEmbeds",d=e.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];if(window[t]&&window[t].initialized)window[t].process&&window[t].process();else if(!e.getElementById(n)){var o=e.createElement("script");o.async=1,o.id=n,o.src="https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js",d.parentNode.insertBefore(o,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async"); Border policies under Biden and Trump are similar Immigration policies at the border under Biden and Trump have stayed largely the same. Border authorities are still enforcing immigration laws; immigrants continue to be expelled, detained or allowed into the country if they pass officials’ initial screenings. Heyman said there have been slight changes on how policies are applied to different groups of people, but he described these as "nuances" that affect individuals rather than major policy changes. He pointed to Title 42, a public health policy enacted under Trump to limit COVID-19’s spread. Title 42 is not an immigration policy, but it allows Border Patrol agents to expel immigrants arriving at the border without placing them in formal deportation proceedings. Title 42 has remained under the Biden administration. CBP data shows that Border Patrol agents recorded more than 2.2 million encounters with migrants at the southwest border in fiscal year 2022, which ended in September. But that doesn’t mean that 2.2 million people entered the country. That’s because the data counts events, not individuals. For example, a Border Patrol agent could have encountered the same person three times. Many of the people encountered were quickly expelled by authorities, either under immigration law or under Title 42. Administration is repairing border barriers, adding detection technology Although Biden has not added more miles of border barriers, his administration has provided funding to reinforce existing barriers and add specialized technology at the border. Biden in January 2021 signed a proclamation to pause barrier construction at the southwest border. But he has not ordered the dismantling of existing border barriers completed under Trump or any other administration. In December 2021 and in July, the Department of Homeland Security said it would divert border wall funds appropriated by Congress in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 to repair and fix gaps in existing border barriers. These gaps have become crossing points for immigrants, The Washington Post reported. The administration also said it would use some of these funds to add cameras, lighting and other detection technology to secure the border. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Biden signed into law in November 2021, appropriated about $430 million to CBP for the construction and modernization of land ports of entry and $3 billion for "critical investments" to Border Patrol stations. Our ruling Laxalt claimed, "Biden and Democrats have dismantled border security." Immigrant encounters have drastically increased over the past two years, but not because of funding or staffing cuts. The budgets for border security under the Biden administration are comparable to those under Trump. Border Patrol staffing has remained fairly consistent despite long-term hiring and retention challenges. And border laws and policies to prevent immigrants from remaining in the U.S. continue to be enforced under Biden’s presidency. The Biden administration stopped building additional miles of barriers at the southwest border; however, Biden did not order a dismantling of the barriers built under Trump or other administrations. Biden’s administration has used previously appropriated funds to repair barriers and close gaps that have become popular areas for immigrants to cross into the U.S. We rate this claim False
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Katie Hobbs “has voted to double our gas tax. In the run-up to the midterm elections, Republicans have blamed Democrats for rising gas prices. In an Oct. 12 press conference, GOP candidate Kari Lake attacked her Democratic opponent Katie Hobbs, saying Hobbs "has voted to double our gas tax." Arizona’s current gas tax is 18 cents per gallon, a rate that was set in 1990 and has not changed since. In addition, larger vehicles — which include tractors and trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds or having more than two axles — pay a 26 cent per gallon tax. Hobbs was a member of the Arizona Senate from 2013 to 2019 and in 2018, co-sponsored Senate Bill 1336, which would have raised the gas tax to 36 cents to help maintain the state’s highways. The bill never received a hearing, or a vote. But, according to the Congressional Research Service, co-sponsorship "is generally understood to signify a Senator’s support" for a bill. In December 2018, the average price for unleaded regular gas in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area was around $2.82. This past September, the price was around $4.18. Down from a peak of $5.55 in June, but still nearly 50% higher than four years earlier. Rising energy costs, including gasoline prices, have pushed inflation higher. When energy costs more, everything costs more. This September, the combination of rising energy and housing costs contributed to the Phoenix area having the nation’s highest inflation rate. 2018 wasn’t Hobbs’ first attempt to raise money for roads and highways. In 2017, she co-sponsored a bill to add a licensing fee to alternative fuel vehicles, hoping to get those vehicles to help fund road repairs. That bill also failed to be put to a vote. Featured Fact-check Blake Masters stated on October 15, 2022 in a tweet Immigrants illegally in the country are treated “better than military veterans.” By Jon Greenberg • October 21, 2022 Karen McLaughlin, the fiscal analysis director for the Arizona Center for Economic Progress, said both of these bills were "attempts to address maintaining roads and highways." Richard Auxier, a senior policy associate for the Urban Institute’s Tax Policy Center, said if states don’t raise their gas tax rates, voters are actually given a tax cut through inflation. "Policymakers need to increase the tax rate both to keep up with (inflation) and to ensure the state is collecting enough gas tax revenue to accommodate how much they want to spend on transportation projects," Auxier said. Auxier added that several states have increased gas tax rates, including Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. We reached out to the Hobbs campaign and did not hear back. Our ruling Kari Lake said that Katie Hobbs "has voted to double our gas tax." Hobbs co-sponsored a bill in 2018 to raise the state gas tax from 18 cents per gallon to 36 cents per gallon. The bill never received a vote. We rate this claim Mostly True.
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Reuters reported that Nancy Pelosi bought 10 million shares of cannabis stock On Oct. 6, President Joe Biden said he would pardon all people convicted of simple marijuana possession offenses under federal law and directed Cabinet members to review how the drug is classified. Later that day, a claim started to spread on social media that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had bought millions of shares of cannabis stock before Biden’s announcement. "Breaking," reads one Oct. 7 Instagram post. "Nancy Pelosi purchased 10,000,000 shares of $WEED 4 days ago." The claim was attributed to Reuters, a news service headquartered in London. "Imagine that… #crooks," the post added. It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 9, 2022 in a Facebook post “Donald Trump is back on Twitter,” thanks to Elon Musk. By Sara Swann • October 10, 2022 Reuters said in an Oct. 13 story about the claim that it did not report this. We found no evidence to contradict this. Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Pelosi, told PolitiFact the claim is false. Pelosi’s most recent publicly available financial disclosure report, signed by the speaker Oct. 14, reflects no such transaction. Nor did the previous report, signed Sept. 9, or any others filed this year. Stock purchases by politicians and their potential for conflicts of interest have drawn increased scrutiny in recent years. And in December, Pelosi drew some criticism for rebuffing the idea of banning congressional lawmakers and their spouses from owning individual shares. But claims that she bought shares of cannabis stock this year — and that Reuters reported on it — are False.
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It's not true that "the United States was built on stolen land. As Florida's governor, Republican Ron DeSantis has repeatedly stated his conviction that leaders need to fight attempts to "indoctrinate students" in classrooms. In the only gubernatorial debate before the Nov. 8 election, Gov. DeSantis contrasted his record on education with that of Democratic challenger Charlie Crist and Crist's running mate Karla Hernández-Mats. "You have people that are teaching — and actually his running mate has said this in the past — that teaching the United States was built on stolen land," DeSantis said Oct. 24. "That is inappropriate for our schools; it's not true." We wondered what DeSantis was referring to and whether he was right in his assessment of whether the U.S. was built on "stolen land." DeSantis' campaign did not get back to us. But his remark echoed tweets from Christina Pushaw, rapid response director for DeSantis' re-election campaign. One tweet included a screenshot of a June 24, 2018, Facebook post from United Teachers of Dade, where Hernández-Mats, a former special education teacher, has been president since 2016. The Facebook post included an image of a sign that read: "No one is illegal on stolen land." Hernández-Mats did not respond to specific questions about the image. The post was shared at a time when U.S. immigration policies were dominating the news. We reached out to historians of Native and non-Native descent. All of them said it is well documented that the U.S. acquired Native American land through dubious treaties and, at times, forcefully confiscated ancestral territories to bolster the country's expansion. "As a general statement, yes, the United States stole land from Native Americans," said Philip Deloria, a Native American history professor at Harvard University. Featured Fact-check Joe Biden stated on October 23, 2022 in a forum with Now This Student loan forgiveness is “passed. I got it passed by a vote or two. And it’s in effect.” By Louis Jacobson • October 25, 2022 Sometimes the U.S. and Native American tribes struck treaties that defined boundaries and determined land sale prices and forms of compensation. Other times, tribes signed land-ceding agreements under duress. Deloria said the U.S. often placed compensation for these deals in U.S.-controlled trust funds or promised payment over a number of years, but then failed to follow through. The Sioux Agreement of 1877 is an example of the U.S. acquiring land from Native Americans through fraudulent practices and treaty violations. In 1868, the U.S. signed a treaty recognizing the Black Hills, a 7-million-acre South Dakota mountain range, as part of the Great Sioux Reservation. It set the land "apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation" of the Sioux, a Native American tribe. An image captured in 1868 shows U.S. Army Gen. William T. Sherman and Sioux leaders at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, signing a peace treaty that recognized the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux Reservation. Its terms disintegrated after U.S. officials sought to annex the land, rumored to have gold. The event formed the basis for a 1980 Supreme Court ruling that found the U.S. had taken the tribal lands illegally. (National Archives and Records Administration) The treaty between the U.S. government and the Sioux said that non-Native people "are not permitted to pass over, settle upon, or reside in the territory." Speculation that the Black Hills contained gold, however, led miners to trespass on Sioux territory. The U.S. then moved to negotiate with the Sioux to acquire the land. The deal fell through, which led to a war and hundreds of deaths. The tribe later surrendered and signed a treaty that ceded the Black Hills to the U.S. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled in 1975 that the Sioux are entitled to damages of around $17 million for this land seizure. The court remarked: "A more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealings will never, in all probability, be found in our history." In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. government had acquired the Black Hills through "unfair and dishonorable dealing" and affirmed that it owed the Sioux tribe "just compensation," including interest. In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote, "There was tragedy, deception, barbarity, and virtually every other vice known to man in the 300-year history of the expansion of the original 13 Colonies into a Nation which now embraces more than three million square miles." The U.S. sometimes bought Native land from European countries, like France, and claimed ownership even though "France did not treaty with the many tribes who lived upon that land," said Randy Woodley, director of intercultural and indigenous studies at George Fox University. The federal government also forcibly removed Native Americans from their ancestral lands after former President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. That expulsion became known as the "Trail of Tears," which killed thousands of Native Americans. An image shows a page from the bill that would go on to become the Indian Removal Act of 1830. (Library of Congress) The Seminoles resisted relocation, and the result was a half-century of warfare. Andrew Frank, a Florida State University professor who specializes in the history of the Seminoles, said the U.S. annexed much of Florida through treaties that a majority of the tribal leaders opposed. The U.S. military drove out more than 3,000 Seminoles from the state, according to the Florida Department of State. Around 300 members of the tribe remained in Florida. "The post-Civil War period is full of people being compressed, contained, and confined onto small reservations within their territory, in order to accommodate non-Native settlement," Deloria told PolitiFact. In 1946, the federal government created the Indian Claims Commission to resolve legal claims that the U.S. obtained Native American land through questionable or fraudulent economic transactions. It lasted until 1978, and unsettled claims were transferred to the U.S. Court of Claims. The commission found that the U.S. government's payment of $152,500 to the Seminoles for about 23 million acres of land in Florida was "clearly unconscionable." The Indian Claims Commission completed 546 cases, awarding about $818 million to Native American tribes. "It is historically inaccurate to say the land was not stolen from Native Americans," Woodley said. Our ruling DeSantis said it's not true that "the United States was built on stolen land." Historians of Native and non-Native descent said DeSantis' characterization is wrong. It's well-documented that the U.S. repeatedly made treaties with Native Americans and then violated them using force and other means to accommodate non-Native settlement. Courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have time and again affirmed that as fact. Government-endorsed actions to remove Native Americans from their ancestral lands included the 1830 passage of a federal law that led to war and resulted in thousands of Native deaths and more than 3,000 Seminoles being removed from Florida. DeSantis' claim is wildly historically inaccurate. We rate it Pants on Fire! Read this fact-check in Spanish
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“Freedom of Information Act requests show a dozen phone calls between the cell phone of Ray Epps and the office of Speaker Pelosi in the week before #January6th An Instagram post is reviving the claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., spoke on the phone with Ray Epps a week ahead of the Capitol insurrection. "BREAKING: Freedom of Information Act requests show a dozen phone calls between the cell phone of Ray Epps and the office of Speaker Pelosi in the week before #January6th," reads a screenshot of a previously published tweet shared in an Oct. 28 Instagram post. The post was flagged as part of Instagram’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Ray Epps was a Trump supporter living in Arizona when he traveled to Washington, D.C., ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Videos from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, captured Epps urging others to enter the Capitol "peacefully"and he soon became the subject of far-right conspiracy theory alleging he was a government-protected FBI asset who instigated the riot. The narrative has been dismantled numerous times, including during public hearings held by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack. Epps had no ties to the FBI or law enforcement and bore no responsibility for orchestrating the event. And there are no federal documents showing he spoke by phone with Pelosi a week before the insurrection. Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 14, 2022 in an Instagram post Video footage showing Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi hiding on Jan. 6, 2021, shows the U.S. Capitol attack “was a setup.” By Madison Czopek • October 17, 2022 The image and claim in this Instagram post is a screenshot of a now-deleted tweet that first surfaced in July. Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesperson, told PolitiFact in an email that the claim was false. The federal Freedom of Information Act permits members of the public to request records from federal agencies within the executive branch of the federal government. But Congress and the judiciary are not subject to the law. Although anyone can ask for such records, we find no evidence that such records have been produced — and neither have USA Today, The Associated Press or Lead Stories, all of which have fact-checked this claim since it first surfaced. Our ruling An Instagram post claims records produced by a Freedom of Information Act request show Epps and Pelosi spoke on the phone dozens of times in the week leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. A spokesperson for Pelosi told PolitiFact there is no merit to the claims. Further, members of Congress are not subject to FOIA requests. We rate this claim Fals
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Australian officials “are giving cows mRNA vaccines. An Instagram post claims that the Australian government is giving mRNA vaccines to livestock and that it will affect consumers. "They are giving cows mRNA vaccine which will pass the vaccine into milk, cheese etc," says a screenshot of a headline shared Oct. 25 in an Instagram post. The screenshot also says, "Dairy farmer are now forced to vaccinate their herd with an mRNA vaccine!" The caption on the post says, "Do you think this is true?" The post was flagged as part of Instagram’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) The short answer: No, it is not true. The screenshot from the Instagram post shows an article on Truth11.com, which cites another website called Before It’s News, which then points to an anonymous email as the information’s source. Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 13, 2022 in a post on Facebook If a sealed bag of raw poultry appears “puffy,” it means the protein is not safe to consume. By Michael Majchrowicz • October 14, 2022 "A friend (in New South Wales) informed me today that her neighbor, a dairy farmer, is now forced to vaccinate her herd with an mRNA vaccine!," part of the email reads. "She complied and of the 200 head of cattle, 35 died instantly!" "The farmer said it is mandatory for all dairy farms to have their herd jabbed with this mRNA vaccine," the email continued. There are currently no mRNA vaccines being used on livestock in Australia, a spokesperson for the country’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry told PolitiFact. In September, New South Wales officials said they would prioritize "fast-track" development of mRNA vaccines for livestock to prevent foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease. Those are expected to be introduced in August 2023. We rate the claim that Australian officials "are giving cows mRNA vaccines" False. PolitiFact researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this repor
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Thunderous crowd at Philadelphia Phillies game “literally registering on the Penn State University Brandywine seismograph station. Did a thunderous crowd at the Philadelphia Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park erupt in a celebration that "literally registered" on a seismograph? That’s what a viral tweet claimed on Nov. 1 after the home team hit five home runs during Game 3 of the World Series, which the Phillies won 7-0. "Harper and Bohm home runs are literally registering on the Penn State University Brandywine seismograph station," the Nov. 1 tweet said, referring to home runs hit by the Phillies’ Alec Bohm and Bryce Harper. "The city is physically shaking." An image included with the tweet shows what appears to be a graph of seismic activity. The tweet has been liked more than 10,000 times. But as raucous as the celebrations might have been, they did not register on a seismograph. Kyle Homman, the seismic network manager for the Pennsylvania State Seismic Network and a doctoral candidate in Penn State University’s Department of Geosciences, told PolitiFact in an email that there were no seismic activity spikes related to the game. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 18, 2022 in a post “Eagles fans shout F— Joe Biden while Jill Biden attends NFL game!” By Gabrielle Settles • October 26, 2022 "I did find a play-by-play (of the game) and looked more closely at the data around the home run times," Homman said. "Assuming those times are correct, I did not see any increase in the seismic data that would indicate shaking from the stadium being recorded." The closest seismic station to the stadium is at the Penn State satellite campus of Brandywine, Homman said. That’s roughly 20 miles from Citizens Bank Park. Another expert said that distance is too far to be able to register activity. "No stadium, no matter how loud it is, is going to generate enough seismic waves that it’s going to transmit 20 miles," Laura Guertin, a Penn State earth sciences professor, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. Furthermore, Tammie Souza, a meteorologist for Philadelphia's CBS television affiliate, tweeted that the original tweet’s image corresponded with a magnitude 5.1 earthquake recorded Oct. 25 in San Francisco. We rate the claim that the crowd at a Philadelphia Phillies World Series game "literally registered" on a seismograph Pants on Fire
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CNN reported Donald Trump died on Nov. 1 Former President Donald Trump isn’t dead, though what looks like a screenshot of a CNN article reporting otherwise may make you do a double-take. "Donald Trump dead at 76," reads the purported headline for a story by CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza that was "updated at 3:49 PM ET" on Nov. 2. An Instagram post sharing the screenshot was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) The same claims were trending on Twitter. A closer look at the image reveals a caption that might clue in some readers that this is a joke at Trump’s expense. It says he "died of autoerotic asphyxiation in his Florida home on November 1, 2022." Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 10, 2022 in a post “Premature babies are at a much higher risk of injury from immunizations than full-term babies.” By Andy Nguyen • October 13, 2022 The story is not on CNN’s website, and we found no evidence that it ever was. Trump has been active on Truth Social since his alleged death, and Nov. 2 he issued a statement endorsing Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. On Nov. 3, he’s expected at a rally in Sioux City, Iowa, to support Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. We rate claims that he’s dead and CNN reported it Pants on Fir
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“J.D. Vance said nothing about” the attack on Paul Pelosi At a Fox News town hall-style event in Ohio, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Tim Ryan fielded a question about the increasingly harsh tone in American politics. Ryan said extremism "needs to be confronted," and pointed to the attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "What happened to Paul Pelosi was an absolute tragedy," Ryan said. "I don't care what your politics are. It's not about that." In the early hours on Oct. 28, a man broke into the Pelosi residence in San Francisco and struck Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer. The suspect, David DePape, faces a laundry list of charges including assault, attempted murder and attempted kidnapping. Ryan then compared the response of his Republican opponent, J.D. Vance, with that of Ohio’s senator and governor. "J.D. Vance said nothing about this," Ryan said. "You should ask him, because Rob Portman and Mike DeWine did, and J.D. Vance was silent." Ryan was wrong on the last point. The day of the attack, Vance was at a campaign event in Canton, Ohio. After speaking, Vance fielded questions from reporters. The local newspaper, The Canton Repository, reported his comment on the Pelosi attack, remarks verified by Politifact. As the impromptu news conference was ending, a reporter asked Vance about the Pelosi attack. "It's terrible," Vance said. "I hope that he's OK. It sounds like he is going to be OK. But it's just further evidence we need to lower the temperature in this country." As it turned out, only The Canton Repository reported on Vance’s comments. Vance’s press team said that national press outlets including The New York Times, Fox News and Business Insider, were part of that gaggle with reporters. The campaign’s thinking, a spokesperson said, was that Vance had weighed in on the episode and his comments didn’t need further amplification. Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 9, 2022 in a Facebook post “Donald Trump is back on Twitter,” thanks to Elon Musk. By Sara Swann • October 10, 2022 A Washington Post roundup about Republican candidates’ responses to the attack did not include Vance’s words. Izzy Levi, spokeswoman for the Ryan campaign, acknowledged Vance’s comments on the attack. "He may have responded when asked that one time, but has made no proactive comment on the matter," Levi said. Some Republicans took to Twitter to post their thoughts. That list includes Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who said, "We must all stand up against this violence. I wish Mr. Pelosi a speedy and full recovery." Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine decried this "terrible and senseless act of violence." Outside Ohio, Republican Senate candidates Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Joe O’Dea in Colorado and Don Bolduc in New Hampshire shared similar sympathies. But just as many Republican Senate candidates did not follow suit. That group includes Herschel Walker in Georgia, Adam Laxalt in Nevada, Ted Budd in North Carolina and Blake Masters in Arizona. During the same Fox News town hall event where Ryan claimed Vance had said nothing, Vance said he has condemned "the violence against Paul Pelosi from the very beginning." Our ruling Ryan said that Vance "said nothing" about the attack on Paul Pelosi. Vance had spoken. In response to a reporter’s question, he called the attack terrible, and said "we need to lower the temperature in this country." National press did not report his words; a local newspaper did. Other Republicans leaders in Ohio as well as Republican Senate candidates in other states released statements via Twitter condemning the attack. Vance did not do that. We rate this claim False.
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President Joe Biden and Democrats "send a fortune to Ukraine but nothing for our children. An ad in the Georgia U.S. Senate race doesn’t mention either incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock or his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker. But the ad, by the conservative nonprofit Citizens for Sanity, pulls no punches, and levels a charge that Democratic policies are abandoning children. In an election that features two Black candidates, the ad says that President Joe Biden "and his liberal friends treat Black Americans like second-class citizens," following up with images of violent street crime and buildings in ruins. The ad also asserts that Biden and Democrats "send a fortune to Ukraine but nothing for our children." (Screenshots) This is ridiculously wrong. Spending on U.S. children in fiscal year 2021 was seven times larger than federal outlays so far for the war in Ukraine. The ad comes amid plummeting Republican support for supporting Ukraine financially. The percentage of Republicans telling pollsters that the U.S. is doing "too much" in Ukraine has skyrocketed from 6% in March to 48% today. First, let’s set the baseline for how much the United States has spent aiding Ukraine in its fight against Russia. Since the war started in February 2022, Congress has spent $66 billion to help Ukraine, according to calculations by Mark F. Cancian, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. That is what has been appropriated by Congress, though some won’t be spent immediately, he said, such as money for orders of weapons that haven’t been fabricated yet. Most of the votes to approve the funding were significantly bipartisan. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 19, 2022 in a post The diphtheria vaccine is a “poison dart” with side effects worse than the symptoms of diphtheria. By Andy Nguyen • October 24, 2022 By comparison, federal spending on U.S. children during Biden’s administration has been far larger. Federal outlays on behalf of children were already significant before the pandemic and grew under Biden, according to statistics collected by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, D.C. Under President Donald Trump, existing federal spending on children’s behalf — a combination of tax credits, health care, nutrition, education, child care and housing — amounted to about $7,000 per child. In 2021, during Biden’s administration, that number increased by more than 50%, to $10,710. Federal spending on U.S. children in 2021 totaled $482 billion, the Urban Institute found — far more than the $66 billion that’s been appropriated to support Ukraine. The increase was largely traceable to Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which passed with only Democratic support in Congress just weeks after Biden’s 2021 inauguration. One of the bill’s centerpieces, an effort to aid children and families, came from an expansion of the child tax credit that taxpayers could receive as a monthly cash payment, rather than waiting for a reduction in what they owed at tax time. The change was for one year only; efforts to extend it permanently have stalled. The bill also provided additional funding to states for education and child care, increased nutritional assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and added federal funding for Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance plan for low-income Americans. Dozens of other children’s programs and tax credits received smaller increases, the Urban Institute said. The child tax credit expansion alone was larger than the total U.S. outlays in Ukraine. More than 36 million families who have more than 61 million children received more than $92 billion in relief through the child tax credit expansion, according to the Treasury Department. Citizens for Sanity did not respond to an inquiry for this article. Our ruling A Citizens for Sanity ad said that Biden and Democrats "send a fortune to Ukraine but nothing for our children." On a largely bipartisan basis, Congress has approved roughly $66 billion in assistance to Ukraine. By comparison, proposals supported by Biden and that won support of only Democrats in Congress spent $482 billion on behalf of U.S. children in 2021. The child tax credit expansion alone paid out $92 billion to U.S. families with children, or 1.5 times the amount the U.S. has spent so far on the war in Ukraine. We rate the statement Pants on Fir
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“Smithsonian admits to destruction of thousands of giant human skeletons in early 1900s. The Smithsonian National Museum of History has hundreds of skeletons on display in its aptly named Bone Hall. Some have been on view since 1881. But a recent Instagram post suggests the keepers of these skeletal artifacts have confessed to destroying others. "Smithsonian admits to destruction of thousands of giant human skeletons in early 1900s," read what looks like a screenshot of a news headline. "A US Supreme Court ruling has forced the Smithsonian Institution to release classified papers dating from the early 1900s that proves the organization was involved in a major historical cover-up." The post sharing this screenshot was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 9, 2022 in a Facebook post “Donald Trump is back on Twitter,” thanks to Elon Musk. By Sara Swann • October 10, 2022 This story originated on a website that publishes fiction and satire, and it’s been online since at least 2014. A Smithsonian Institution spokesperson also told Reuters in August that the claim is false. We rate claims that the Smithsonian admitted to destroying thousands of giant human skeletons Pants on Fire!
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“Leaked audio tape of the 911 call from the Paul Pelosi attack has surfaced. The call proves that the liberal media has lied about what really happened. A recent Instagram post cast a tantalizing lure for users following developments in the story about the Oct. 28 attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi. "BREAKING," a Nov. 1 post says. "A leaked audio tape of the 911 call from the Paul Pelosi attack has surfaced. The call proves that the liberal media has lied about what really happened." This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) We found no evidence that the 911 call Paul Pelosi placed after an intruder broke into the San Francisco home he shares with the speaker was leaked. CNN reported Nov. 1 that "members of the Pelosi family are expected to be able to hear audio from the 911 call" and see body camera footage of the officers who responded to the home, but neither the call nor the footage has been made public. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 23, 2022 in Instagram post California state Sen. Scott Wiener “doesn’t just want to sterilize California kids, but sterilization of kids everywhere!” By Michael Majchrowicz • October 31, 2022 The federal criminal complaint filed against David DePape, the 42-year-old man accused of assaulting Paul Pelosi, offers the most details about the call thus far. The complaint says that at 2:23 a.m. Oct. 28, a San Francisco dispatcher received a 911 call from Paul Pelosi that was placed from his home. "Pelosi stated words to the effect of there is a male in the home and that the male is going to wait for Pelosi’s wife," the complaint says. "Pelosi further conveyed that he does not know who the male is. The male said his name is David." An audio recording of police dispatch echoes this. The Instagram post goes on to refer users to the account @red.wave1776, saying it’s the "only place" to find the purported leaked 911 call. That account is private, and the setup is similar to another post we recently checked that claimed to have leaked messages between former President Barack Obama and the judge who signed off on the warrant to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. In that case, account after account referred users to follow yet another account, and no leaked messages materialized. We rate claims that the 911 call Paul Pelosi placed has been leaked Fals
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"Raphael Warnock and Stacey Abrams are radical communists and, if they get their way, gun owners here in Georgia will be completely disarmed. The top two Democrats on Georgia’s election ticket are communists and gun confiscators, according to an attack ad released by a gun rights group in the final days before the Nov. 8 midterms. Georgia Gun Owners’ ad running on both Facebook and Instagram is directed at U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. "Raphael Warnock and Stacey Abrams are radical communists and, if they get their way, gun owners here in Georgia will be completely disarmed!" the ad’s caption said. "That’s what they want, to turn our beloved Georgia, and America, into the next China — where only the government has guns." It features the Georgia Gun Owners’ leader, Aaron Dorr, reiterating the attacks on the Abrams and Warnock and on President Joe Biden. Dorr says they are communists who hate America and "want to turn it into the next China." The ad makes a false claim without evidence. Warnock and Abrams have not espoused communist policies or called for blanket seizures of guns. The Nov. 8 contests Warnock, who won a special election in January 2021, is being challenged by former college and professional football player Herschel Walker, a Republican. The toss-up race could help decide which party controls the Senate, which is split 50-50. Abrams is running against first-term GOP Gov. Brian Kemp; she narrowly lost to him in 2018. Georgia Gun Owners did not respond to our messages requesting evidence for the ad’s claims. Warnock, Abrams are not communists Communism typically involves authoritarian rule, a one-party government that owns all property and controls the means of production, and advocates for ending capitalism. Warnock and Abrams have not espoused such policies. "Many on the right use the word communist as a catchall epithet to describe pretty much any liberal policy or person," said Jeffrey Lazarus, political science professor at Georgia State University. "Neither Warnock nor Abrams has said anything remotely close to advocating for a public takeover of significant sectors of the economy. The idea doesn’t have any sort of cachet in mainstream Democratic circles." Warnock’s campaign pointed to news reports that identified him as a capitalist after he was attacked as a Marxist during his first Senate campaign. Abrams’ campaign denied that she is a communist. Featured Fact-check Liquid Death stated on October 27, 2022 in an ad In Georgia, it's "illegal to give people water within 150 feet of a polling place" and "punishable by up to a year in prison." By Tom Kertscher • November 7, 2022 "While various policies espoused by Abrams and Warnock might be labeled liberal or progressive, especially compared to previous statewide candidates in Georgia, there is nothing they are promoting that comes anywhere near being labeled communist," said Thomas Hunter, a political scientist at the University of West Georgia. "It is ludicrous to call them ‘radical communists.’" Warnock’s and Abrams’ stance on gun access Warnock and Abrams have not called for widespread gun confiscation. Hunter said that although Abrams and Warnock favor gun control, "neither has come anywhere near calling for the widespread confiscation of weapons." Warnock is endorsed by the Giffords anti-gun violence group, which praised his support of legislation to restrict firearm access for people who have committed domestic abuse and to require background checks on all gun sales. The National Rifle Association has criticized Warnock’s support of legislation that would ban semiautomatic weapons such as AR-15-style rifles. Warnock’s campaign website does not address guns and he has been less outspoken than Abrams about gun control. His campaign said Warnock has supported "common-sense" gun control efforts, not taking away guns. Abrams told Axios in June that she would pursue "the obvious and the common-sense gun safety rules that do not infringe upon anyone's ability to carry." She supports limiting access to guns for domestic violence perpetrators and stalkers, and enabling people and law enforcement officials to petition courts to temporarily restrict gun access for people who have mental health problems that threaten themselves or others. The NRA has criticized Abrams’ stance, claiming her restrictions "would strip Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans without due process." Giffords endorsed Abrams. None of Abrams’ gun-control proposals "would lead to law-abiding gun owners being 'completely disarmed’," campaign spokesperson Alex Floyd said. Our ruling Georgia Gun Owners claimed that Warnock and Abrams are "radical communists and, if they get their way, gun owners here in Georgia will be completely disarmed." The two Georgia Democrats have not advocated communist policies, such as complete government ownership of property. They also have not called for the widespread confiscation of guns from all people in Georgia. The claim is inaccurate and distorts reality. We rate it Pants on Fire! RELATED: All our fact-checks about Georg
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Abraham Hamadeh says he will “lock up doctors, nurses, pharmacists” and “punish women for abortion. In 1864, almost 50 years before Arizona officially became a state, the territory passed a law that said anyone who helps a woman miscarry can be put in jail. More than 100 years later, this law has become a central issue in the state’s attorney general race. Democratic candidate Kris Mayes claims her opponent, Abraham Hamadeh, would target women and doctors for abortion law violations. "My opponent, has affirmed he will indeed lock up doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc. and punish women for abortion, with zero exceptions for rape or incest," Mayes tweeted Sept. 25. Hamadeh’s campaign called this statement a "blatant misrepresentation." "Abe has never said he supports the (abortion) ban outright, only that the attorney general has a duty to defend the law regardless of their personal opinion," Hamadeh’s campaign said in an Oct.14 emailed statement, echoing an earlier tweet. Hamadeh has said that he is pro-life. In March, the state passed a law that bans abortions after 15 weeks, with protecting the mother’s life and physical health as the only exception. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. Pending court rulings, it is unclear whether Arizona will follow the 1864 version, or the one passed in March. But in either case, health care providers are at risk, and pregnant women are not. The pre-statehood law criminalizes any action "procuring a misscarriage" as an offense that can put Arizonans in prison for two to five years. Jenn Piatt, an Arizona State University research scholar specializing in public health law, said the law would imprison only people who provide abortions. "Generally speaking, the 1901 pre-statehood law would subject health care providers to potential criminal sentences, if it eventually is found enforceable," Piatt said. "The way the law is drafted indicates that the law does not specifically aim at targeting a pregnant woman or pregnant person for prosecution." The 1864 law, which was codified in 1901, faces legal challenges. Although a Sept. 22 county Superior Court ruling allowed the pre-statehood law to take effect, the ruling was blocked two weeks later after the Arizona Court of Appeals accepted a stay filed by Planned Parenthood Arizona. Featured Fact-check Blake Masters stated on October 15, 2022 in a tweet Immigrants illegally in the country are treated “better than military veterans.” By Jon Greenberg • October 21, 2022 Arizona’s more recent abortion law also has penalties for physicians, but rather than specifying jail time, the law punishes them with a $10,000 fine and the removal of their medical license. There is no exception for rape or incest. The law specifically says the pregnant woman will not be prosecuted. Hamadeh’s campaign said Mayes is wrong to focus on the penalties because enforcing the law would fall outside the authority of the attorney general’s office. "The attorney general does not have primary jurisdiction to enforce the abortion criminal provisions," Hamadeh’s campaign said in a statement. "Instead the authority falls on the county attorneys." That generally reflects the state’s rules, Piatt said. "The Arizona attorney general’s position on an abortion ban may differ from county prosecutors in Arizona," said Piatt. "Those county prosecutors retain their own prosecutorial discretion and may choose either to bring or not to bring specific charges." However, Piatt noted that attorneys general can negotiate a shared approach with the counties, as they hold "supervisory authority" over county attorneys. Attorneys general also have their own prosecutors who could step in, especially if a criminal activity crosses county lines. That could occur, for example, if a pregnant woman lived in one county and the abortion provider lived in another. Our Ruling Mayes said that Hamadeh said he would "lock up doctors, nurses, pharmacists" and "punish women for abortion." Hamadeh has said he would enforce state law, whatever it may be. Whether the abortion law from 1864 or the one passed this year prevails, those who assist in performing abortions face criminal penalities. Under the older law, providers risk imprisonment; under the 2022 law, they don’t. Under neither law would the pregnant woman herself face that risk. Part of Mayes’s claim is accurate, but it ignores important information. We rate this claim Half True.
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Said Katie Hobbs “fought to” “prevent students from learning (about) the Pledge of Allegiance, Constitution, Mayflower Compact and Declaration of Independence. Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Arizona governor, said her Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, voted on a bill that would prevent students from learning the Pledge of Allegiance, Constitution, Mayflower Compact and Declaration of Independence. These allegations were in a three-minute-long video that Lake posted to her Twitter account on Sept. 20, 2022. "She wants to purge the pledge, anthem and Constitution from our schools," Lake said. Did Hobbs vote against teaching students about these historical documents? The legislative record shows that she did not. Lake said she was referring to Senate Bill 1289. The bill, which went through the Arizona legislature in 2018 and became law, amended an existing statute. The existing language allowed teachers and school administrators to display or read the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Pledge of Allegiance, along with other documents. SB1289 added language to the bill that would allow school staff to display historical documents that refer to God, specifically "In God we trust'' and "Ditat Deus," the state motto, which is Latin for "God enriches." Hobbs' vote against this amendment did not keep students from learning about any of the previously listed documents. Featured Fact-check Blake Masters stated on October 15, 2022 in a tweet Immigrants illegally in the country are treated “better than military veterans.” By Jon Greenberg • October 21, 2022 "It is common in politics to try and package items so that a legislator voting against one of them is accused of voting against all," said David Alexander Bateman, an associate professor of government at Cornell University. Bateman added that specifically adding the references to God could raise constitutional questions about the separation of religion and state. We reached out to the Lake campaign and did not hear back. Our ruling Kari Lake said that Katie Hobbs tried to "purge the pledge, anthem and Constitution from our schools." Hobbs voted against Senate Bill 1289. This bill amended existing language in a statute to include "In God we Trust" and the state motto "Ditat deus", which means "God enriches." Her vote would not have kept teachers from discussing other core U.S. documents. We rate this claim False.
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Julie Powell died from the COVID-19 vaccine Days after the death of food writer Julie Powell, social media posts are suggesting the 49 year old perished from the COVID-19 vaccine. Powell, a bestselling author and blogger whose writing provided the basis for the 2009 movie "Julie & Julia," died Oct. 26 in her upstate New York home, according to her obituary in The New York Times. A Nov. 2 Instagram post showed out-of-context screenshots from Powell’s Twitter account in which she talked about receiving a COVID-19 booster shot as well as being diagnosed with a common and harmless medical condition called "black hairy tongue." "Damn," read the caption on the Instagram post, "Are they starting to drop like flies or is that just me? #homepage #clotshot #juliepowell #blacktongue #vaccinated #nuremberg2" The post was flagged as part of Instagram’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Powell’s husband, Eric, told the Times his wife died of cardiac arrest. He did not mention the COVID-19 vaccine. Eric Powell could not immediately be reached by PolitiFact. The post highlighted several tweets Julie Powell shared in 2021 about COVID-19 vaccines, and an Oct. 25 tweet, her last, in which she described waking up with what doctors said was a harmless tongue condition. In the Feb. 26, 2021, tweet, highlighted by the post Powell referenced some optimism at the idea of vaccines becoming more widely available. Featured Fact-check Viral image stated on October 16, 2022 in an Instagram post “Covid vaccinations now prohibited in people under 50 in Denmark.” By Ciara O'Rourke • October 18, 2022 On May 8, 2021, she tweeted that she was feeling "a little noshy" after getting a vaccine. On Dec. 18, 2021, she responded to a post about a booster shot by saying that she would be getting hers on Christmas Eve. PolitiFact was unable to independently verify which vaccine Powell received or whether she was inoculated with one of the updated bivalent COVID-19 boosters, which were made available in September. The Instagram post appears to be nodding at a rare heart-related side effect linked to COVID-19 vaccines, myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. Health officials say contracting COVID-19 poses a much greater heart risk than receiving COVID-19 vaccines. The National Institutes of Health said the benefits of getting vaccinated "markedly outweigh the very small risk of vaccine-related myocarditis." The NIH also said the risk of myocarditis linked with COVID-19 illness is several times greater than the risk from vaccination, and is often more serious. Our ruling An Instagram post drew on Powell’s old tweets about getting vaccinated to suggest that the vaccines caused Powell's death. Powell’s husband told The New York Times that his wife died of cardiac arrest. We find no evidence to suggest the vaccine was to blame. We rate this Fals
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"On my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting an increase in their Social Security checks. Just days before the close of the midterm elections, President Joe Biden touted his commitment to "protecting Social Security and Medicare and lowering prescription drug costs." But as he spoke in Hallandale Beach, Florida, Biden went factually overboard praising his own actions on Social Security. "On my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting an increase in their Social Security checks," he said at the Nov. 1 community center event. That is inaccurate: Under a longstanding law, Social Security cost-of-living adjustments occur automatically, based on a formula tied to inflation. Seniors have received increases nearly every year for the last 10 years. The White House did not respond to our request for an explanation of Biden’s remarks. The White House also made a separate but similar statement on Twitter that prompted criticism. "Seniors are getting the biggest increase in their Social Security checks in 10 years through President Biden’s leadership," the White House said in the tweet, which it later deleted after Twitter attached a note saying the tweet lacked context. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 19, 2022 in social media posts A House Republican plan says that if the GOP wins the majority, “Retirees who have a pension, IRAs, 401k, disabled veteran benefits will be ineligible for Social Security benefits.” By Louis Jacobson • October 21, 2022 Biden doesn’t deserve credit for the increase, which is set by a law approved in 1972. The amount of the automatic cost-of-living increase is determined by how much the consumer price index rises from the third quarter of the previous year to the third quarter of the current year. The provision took effect in 1975. Prior to that, benefits had to be increased by congressional action. In each of the past 10 years, Social Security recipients received a cost-of-living adjustment, except for 2016, when the inflation rate was low enough that no adjustment was necessary. !function(e,i,n,s){var t="InfogramEmbeds",d=e.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];if(window[t]&&window[t].initialized)window[t].process&&window[t].process();else if(!e.getElementById(n)){var o=e.createElement("script");o.async=1,o.id=n,o.src="https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js",d.parentNode.insertBefore(o,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async"); With inflation currently at a four-decade high, the Social Security Administration announced a cost-of-living increase of 8.7% for 2023, a bigger percentage than any year since 1981. Our ruling Biden said, "On my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting an increase in their Social Security checks." In reality, Social Security recipients have received an inflation adjustment for nine of the past 10 years. The adjustments are based on a key inflation measure, as mandated by a 1972 law. We rate the statement Pants on Fir
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"PayPal has reinstated its policy to fine users $2,500 directly from their accounts if they spread 'misinformation.' Has PayPal secretly resurrected a policy that the company said in October it erroneously released — and then corrected? No. But facts didn’t stand in the way of this viral Instagram post: "BREAKING: PayPal has reinstated its policy to fine users $2,500 directly from their accounts if they spread ‘misinformation,’" an image shared Oct. 27 said. The post showed a screenshot of an Oct. 27 headline from The Gateway Pundit, a conservative news site. "Canceling my account!" the post’s caption said. The Instagram post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) The Oct. 27 article in The Gateway Pundit claimed PayPal has updated its User Agreement to fine users $2,500 if they provide "false, inaccurate or misleading information." But that’s not how it works. The only time PayPal institutes fines is when users have violated PayPay’s Acceptable Use Policy, which outlines specific prohibited activities. The list of prohibited activities does not include spreading misinformation. And when fines are levied, they are not for violations per se, but for damages related to "investigatory costs when sellers engage in activities that violate the (Acceptable Use Policy), like fraud, counterfeiting or other illegal activity," according to PayPal. Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 9, 2022 in a Facebook post “Donald Trump is back on Twitter,” thanks to Elon Musk. By Sara Swann • October 10, 2022 The Gateway Pundit article appeared to conflate PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy with its User Agreement, which are separate documents. The User Agreement does warn sellers not to "provide false, inaccurate or misleading information" under its restricted activities section. But that is included in a list of activities prohibited in connection with "use of our websites, your PayPal account, the PayPal services," and it’s listed alongside other prohibited activities such as selling counterfeit goods and sending or receiving fraudulent funds. If fines are levied, it’s for "administrative costs incurred by PayPal to monitor and track violations, damage to PayPal’s brand and reputation and penalties imposed upon PayPal by its business partners" as a result of a seller engaging in illegal or fraudulent activity, according to PayPal. Also, it’s not a new or reinstated policy. A PayPal spokesperson told PolitiFact that has been a longstanding provision in its User Agreement for several years. The provision is in each version of the agreement going back to at least 2013. The confusion began in early October, when PayPal said it mistakenly published changes to its Acceptable Use Policy that it later described as inaccurate. The changes said that misinformation was a prohibited activity on the site and users would be fined $2,500 for violations. "PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy," the company said in an Oct. 8 statement sent to news outlets. We rate the claim that PayPal has "reinstated its policy to fine users $2,500" for "spreading misinformation" Fals
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“Two far-right websites attributed to David DePape to smear conservatives were fabricated — they were created Friday. Since the Oct. 28 attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, at their San Francisco home, news organizations have reported on two blogs written by a user who called himself "daviddepape." That’s the same name as the man who has been criminally charged in the incident. But some social media and blog posts have claimed that the sites were fabricated to vilify conservatives. "Two far-right websites attributed to David DePape to smear conservatives were fabricated — they were created Friday and deleted Saturday," the Oct. 30 post says. This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Both blogs — called Frenly Frens and The Loving God — are no longer online, but parts of the sites were archived after the Pelosi attack and some media outlets reviewed them before they went dark. The Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library that saves billions of web pages over time, has files showing the blogs were not created the day of the attack. And there’s no evidence to support the claim that they were created to smear conservatives. The Washington Post reported that at least one site contained "hundreds of blog posts in recent months sharing memes in support of fringe commentators and far-right personalities. Many posts were filled with screeds against Jews, Black people, Democrats, the media and transgender people." Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 23, 2022 in Instagram post California state Sen. Scott Wiener “doesn’t just want to sterilize California kids, but sterilization of kids everywhere!” By Michael Majchrowicz • October 31, 2022 The Washington Post traced the Frenly Frens, which was registered in August, to DePape’s name and address. An archived version of the other blog shows posts from August. Vice News detailed the steps it took to trace the blogs to DePape. "Public records indicate that there’s only one person named David DePape in the state of California," Vice said. "An SFgate article from 2013 about a Bay Area woman named Gypsy Taub, who was planning a naked wedding, identified ‘David DePape’ as the best man and a ‘hemp jewelry maker.’ The article also reported the two lived together. In 2007, a blog under the name David DePape posted several articles on a crafting site about making hemp jewelry. One post links to The Loving God." Vice News said it found identical posts on Frenly Frens and on The Loving God, including one post featuring a screenshot of a 2016 email to Taub. "Some of the most frequent posts are screenshots of text message arguments that he’s had with a family member," Vice said. We rate claims that these blogs were created the same day Pelosi was attacked to smear conservatives Pants on Fire!
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Bill Gates’ daughters aren’t vaccinated Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has been a vocal proponent of COVID-19 vaccines, among other inoculations. But a recent Instagram post claims that his own daughters aren’t even vaccinated. "PHOEBE ADELE GATES: the 20 years old daughter of Bill Gates VACCINATION STATUS: NOT VACCINATE NOT EVEN CHILDHOOD VACCINES," the Oct. 31 Instagram post said, with spelling and grammatical errors. "Jennifer Katharine Gates the eldest daughter of Bill Gates. She is currently a second-year medical student at Icahn School of Medicine in New York. Vaccination status: NOT VACCINATED even CHILDHOOD VACCINES." This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) We’ve fact-checked a similar allegation before. In 2018, we rated a claim that Gates "refused to vaccinate his children" Pants on Fire! At the time, the children of Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates were 15, 18 and 22 years old. In February of that year, Melinda French Gates said in an Instagram post: "When my first child, Jenn, was born, over 800,000 children were dying each year of rotavirus — a preventable, curable disease. It broke my heart to imagine watching your child get sick and knowing that medicine could save her — if only you had access to it. That was a clarifying moment for me. No child should die a preventable death. Bill and I have dedicated our lives to reducing the number who do." Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 12, 2022 in an Instagram post Pfizer executive “admits” vaccine was never tested for preventing transmission. By Jeff Cercone • October 13, 2022 In April 2019, she posted on Facebook that "all three of my children are fully vaccinated." And in 2021, Jennifer Gates posted on Instagram about getting her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. RELATED VIDEO "Sadly the vaccine did NOT implant my genius father into my brain — if only mRNA had that power," she wrote with a winking emoji, poking fun at conspiracy theories about the vaccine. CNN reported at the time that the post, which is no longer online, showed "the 24-year-old medical student wearing a mask and holding up an ‘I got my COVID-19 vaccine’ sticker." The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told PolitiFact in an email that the Gates are "all vaccinated." We rate claims that Phoebe and Jennifer Gates aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 or childhood diseases Pants on Fire!
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David DePape “stripped down to his underwear, grabbed a hammer, and jogged all the way to Nancy Pelosi’s house. A recent Instagram post expresses skepticism about allegations that David DePape broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home on Oct. 28 and attacked her husband, Paul — and also paints an incredible picture. "So if we’re to believe the media…" the Oct. 31 post says, DePape "stripped down to his underwear, grabbed a hammer and JOGGED all the way to Nancy Pelosi’s house." This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) KTVU-TV, , a San Francisco Fox News affiliate, initially and incorrectly reported that police found DePape in his underwear, leading to an avalanche of misinformation. But that story has been corrected with a note that says an earlier version "misstated what clothing the suspect was wearing when officers found him." Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 23, 2022 in Instagram post California state Sen. Scott Wiener “doesn’t just want to sterilize California kids, but sterilization of kids everywhere!” By Michael Majchrowicz • October 31, 2022 DePape was wearing shorts when San Francisco police officers restrained him, according to a federal criminal complaint filed against DePape. Paul Pelosi was wearing "a loose-fitting pajama shirt and boxer shorts," San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said during an Oct. 31 press conference. When DePape broke into the Pelosis’ residence, the complaint says, DePape had "zip ties, tape, rope, and at least one hammer with him." We found no evidence that DePape "jogged" to the Pelosis, as the post claims. The complaint says DePape lived in the garage of a residence in Richmond, California, which is at least a 16-mile journey by foot, including a ferry ride, to the Pacific Heights neighborhood where the Pelosis live. We rate claims that DePape stripped to his underwear and jogged to the Pelosis with a hammer False.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “doesn’t even have surveillance cameras around her house. Claims about the security cameras at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco residence have come in hot, fast and false since the Oct. 28 attack on her husband, Paul Pelosi. We’ve already debunked claims that security cameras at the home malfunctioned during the incident, and that the Pelosis were refusing to turn over security footage to authorities. A third claim casts doubt on the assault, in which police say an intruder hit Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer. "Sooo… the 3rd most powerful person in American politics doesn’t even have surveillance cameras around her house?" reads a screenshot of a tweet from the executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee launched by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. An Instagram post sharing the screenshot was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) As we’ve previously reported, U.S. Capitol Police have access to the security camera feed from the Pelosis’ home in San Francisco. Politico reported Oct. 31 that police are reviewing what happened Oct. 28, including looking at their command center, "which was monitoring the security camera feed from Pelosi’s home, according to a person familiar," Politico said. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 23, 2022 in Instagram post California state Sen. Scott Wiener “doesn’t just want to sterilize California kids, but sterilization of kids everywhere!” By Michael Majchrowicz • October 31, 2022 The Washington Post has since published new details about what the Capitol Police knew and when. In a Nov. 1 story, the Post reveals that officers in the command center "were going through their routines early Friday morning, cycling through live feeds from the department’s 1,800 cameras used to monitor the nearby Capitol complex as well as some points beyond," when an officer noticed a screen showing police lights flashing outside the Pelosis’ home in San Francisco. "The officer in D.C. quickly pulled up additional angles from around Pelosi’s home and began to backtrack, watching recordings from the minutes before San Francisco police arrived," the Post reported. "There, on camera, was a man with a hammer, breaking a glass panel and entering the speaker’s home." Capitol Police first installed cameras around the home more than eight years ago, the Post story said. The speaker, a Democrat, also has around-the-clock security detail. But when she left San Francisco for Washington, D.C., last week "much of the security left with her, and the officers in Washington stopped continuously monitoring video feeds outside her house." Nancy Pelosi wasn’t home when the break-in occurred. We rate claims that Pelosi doesn’t have surveillance cameras at her house Pants on Fir
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If Proposal 3 passes, it would allow children to undergo "gender-change therapy without parental consent Opponents of Proposal 3 — a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the Michigan Constitution — call it a "Pandora’s box" that goes far beyond restoring the national right to an abortion lost when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer. The proposed constitutional amendment — which appears on the Michigan ballot as "Proposal 22-3" — would allow children to undergo "gender change therapy without parental consent," Citizens to Support MI Women & Children claims in a tweet. Citizens to Support MI Women & Children is a coalition campaigning against Proposal 3 that includes prominent abortion rights opponents, including Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference. One television ad from the coalition shows boxes of a medication called Triptorelin with fluid dripping from the needle before scanning over the faces of young children. "This drug blocks a child from going through puberty," the narrator says. "It’s the first step in gender change therapy. Clinics prescribe this drug in Michigan. If Proposal 3 passes, minors as young as 10 or 11 will be able to receive this prescription without the consent of their parents or their parents even knowing." What Proposal 3 actually says If voters adopt Proposal 3 in the upcoming Nov. 8 midterm, it would add about 300 words to the Michigan Constitution. The amendment contains no explicit reference to gender-affirming care or parental consent. "Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which entails the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy," the amendment states. It provides some examples of what the right to reproductive freedom includes: "prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care." An attorney for Reproductive Freedom for All — the group behind the proposed constitutional amendment — cast doubt on opponents’ assertions that Proposal 3 would affect gender-affirming care. "They’re spending an awful lot of time and effort talking about matters that do not relate to pregnancy which are outside the scope of this proposal," Steve Liedel said during a recent news briefing. He said Reproductive Freedom for All has asked stations to stop airing the ad from Citizens to Support MI Women & Children that claims Proposal 3 would allow children to obtain prescriptions for puberty blockers without their parents’ consent or knowledge. Liedel said that "the status of minors that haven’t even entered puberty and are not capable of becoming pregnant until they have completed puberty has nothing to do with the rights addressed by the proposal." Christen Pollo, a spokesperson for Citizens to Support MI Women & Children, defended the ad’s claims. "A constitutional right to ‘sterilization’ surely includes a right to be sterilized to align one’s sex and gender identity," she wrote in an email. "The majority of voters do not support a 12-year-old girl’s right to sterilization without her parent’s notice or consent. But that is the implication of giving this right to every ‘individual,’ no matter their age." If Michigan voters adopt Proposal 3 a future court could, in theory, hear a legal challenge from a minor seeking gender-affirming care without their parents’ consent. In such a case, courts also interpret the amendment’s text. That could boil down to two questions: — Does the right to reproductive freedom protected by the amendment include gender-affirming treatments and procedures? — If so, would the constitutional amendment bar parental consent requirements for minors seeking care? Independent legal and medical experts answered no to both. A court would consider what the amendment’s drafters intended when they wrote it. Because those backing the amendment have denied that it has anything to do with gender-affirming care, it’s unlikely courts will interpret it that way, according to Catherine Archibald, a University of Detroit Mercy law professor who specializes in LGBT legal issues and gender law. Gender-affirming care included in right to make decisions "about all matters relating to pregnancy"? Dr. Daniel Shumer is a pediatric endocrinologist at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. He is an expert in treating children with issues including hormone problems and puberty challenges and also focuses on transgender health. He told the Free Press there is not a direct tie between sterilization and gender-affirming care, and parents remain crucial to health decisions that affect their children. "Proposal 3 is unrelated to care for children and adolescents with differences in gender identity. Parents play a critical role in decision-making when it comes to gender-affirming care. Parental involvement, and consent, is required for hormone care in minors and passage of Proposal 3 will have no bearing on this," Shumer said. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 25, 2022 in an Instagram post The documentary “2,000 Mules proves” Democrats “cheated on the 2020 elections.” By Jon Greenberg • October 28, 2022 He and Anna Kirkland, a lawyer and professor of women’s and gender studies at the University of Michigan, acknowledged guidance from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. It’s considered the preeminent medical body for collecting evidence to establish best practices in the treatment of transgender patients. The organization's standards of care specifically outline the crucial need for parental involvement. "We recommend when gender-affirming medical or surgical treatments are indicated for adolescents, health care professionals working with transgender and gender diverse adolescents involve parent(s)/guardian(s) in the assessment and treatment process, unless their involvement is determined to be harmful to the adolescent or not feasible," the 2022 standards state. The standards also note that while some care may prevent a patient from reproducing in the future, other care does not, and it’s crucial for patients to understand outcomes well before final medical decisions are made. "Age has a strong, albeit imperfect, correlation with cognitive and psychosocial development and may be a useful objective marker for determining the potential timing of interventions," the standards state. Kirkland noted puberty blockers do not cause infertility, nor do they create "sterilization." Kirkland suggested those who crafted the amendment included the word "sterilization" to combat forced sterilization, noting state-sponsored eugenics programs across the country. "Given this very recent and terrible history, of course sterilization would be mentioned in a list of reproductive freedoms that people need to control themselves rather than have the state control, and historically that has meant the right not to be sterilized coercively," she said. Legal experts also argue that it’s far-fetched to interpret the right to "sterilization" in Proposal 3 as encompassing gender-affirming care. Mae Kuykendall, a Michigan State University law professor who specializes in constitutional law, said the amendment "clearly confines the idea of sterilization to a concern about pregnancy," in an email. Transgender care doesn’t fit the bill, she said. Leah Litman, a University of Michigan law professor focused on constitutional law who joined a brief asking the Michigan Supreme Court to put Proposal 3 on the ballot, called opponents' claims that Proposal 3 encompasses gender-affirming care "divorced from language." "I am not familiar with any lawyer or any health care professional who looks at the word sterilization and thinks, ‘ah yes, that includes gender-affirming care,’" she said. "Even if it was encompassed in the right … you would still have greater latitude to restrict rights vis-a-vis minors." Minors’ rights routinely regulated in ways rights of adults are not Citizens to Support MI Women & Children has argued that the amendment would repeal parental consent laws. An attorney with the ACLU of Michigan — one of the groups behind the Reproductive Freedom for All amendment — previously told the Free Press/PolitiFact Michigan that a future court could decide the fate of a Michigan law requiring those performing abortions on minors to obtain the consent of the minor’s parent guardian. The law also allows minors to petition a court, bypassing the parental consent requirement if approved by a judge. Reproductive Freedom for All has since argued that Proposal 3 would leave parental consent requirements untouched if voters adopt it. Legal experts weighing in on the matter argue that parental consent laws in place regarding medical treatments for minors don’t conflict with the proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine a fundamental right to reproductive freedom in the Michigan Constitution. They expect parental consent requirements to survive legal challenges if voters adopt Proposal 3. They point out that constitutional rights often don’t distinguish between the rights of minors and the rights of adults but that state and federal courts routinely allow lawmakers to establish different rules and regulations for children. Litman gave an example: The U.S. Constitution includes the right to bear arms, but that doesn’t mean children can purchase guns. Proposal 3 on its own doesn’t invalidate any state laws, including those regarding parental consent. That would require action by the judiciary or changes to laws currently in place by the Legislature to ensure they comply with the constitutional amendment. Our ruling Proposal 3 does not explicitly state that minors have a right to gender-affirming care without parental consent. The proposed constitutional amendment’s drafters deny that it provides such a right and legal experts don’t foresee a future court siding with opponents of the amendment who claim it includes an unfettered right for minors to access puberty blockers or gender-affirming surgical procedures without parental consent. Medical experts say that Proposal 3 does not touch on gender-affirming care that requires parental involvement. The burden of proof lies with opponents to provide evidence supporting their claims based on current information. Instead, they rely on hypothetical conjectures about how the amendment might be interpreted. Opponents’ claim that Proposal 3 would allow minors to undergo "gender change therapy without parental consent" is not accurate
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At the Pelosi house, “the glass it seems was broken from the inside to the out, so it wasn’t a break-in, it was a break out. Former President Donald Trump elevated a conspiracy theory about the violent assault against Paul Pelosi, falsely saying it wasn’t the result of a break-in at the Pelosis’ San Francisco house. During an interview on "The Chris Stigall Podcast," Trump told Stigall that "weird things" had been happening in the Pelosi household in recent weeks. Paul Pelosi is married to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Trump then suggested that reports of a break-in were wrong. "The glass it seems was broken from the inside to the out, so it wasn’t a break-in, it was a break out. I don’t know, you hear the same things I do," Trump said Nov. 1. Trump’s claim echoes conspiracy theories being pushed by right-wing pundits and amplified on social media. An Oct. 31 Instagram post shared a photo of a segment of the Fox News show "Tucker Carlson Tonight." The left side of the photo shows Carlson speaking, on the right side, people see aerial footage of the Pelosi home. "NOTICE: The broken glass is on (the) outside! THAT MEANS THE BREAK IN WAS STAGED! Broken from inside out!" the post’s caption said. That post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Investigators have provided many details about the incident that happened in the early morning Oct. 28. There is no indication the break-in was staged. The FBI and the San Francisco Police Department found that 42-year old David DePape’s attack left 82-year old Paul Pelosi unconscious with serious injuries, including a skull fracture. San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said in an Oct. 28 press conference that DePape "forced entry into a rear door at the rear of the Pelosi home." On Nov. 1, CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Scott about Trump’s claim. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 15, 2022 in Instagram post Seattle authorities are investigating a string of serial killings. By Michael Majchrowicz • October 17, 2022 Cooper said: "As you may know, the former president has called into question the circumstances of the attack. You've said previously, this was a break-in. That is still accurate, yes?" "Yes. That is absolutely accurate. This was a break-in. There is no doubt in anybody's mind it had anything to do with this investigation of whether or not this was a break-in," Scott said. "This was a break-in, plain and simple. Evidence is overwhelmingly clear and I don't know why anybody would say otherwise, but I am here to tell you that it was a break-in." A Justice Department criminal complaint and arrest warrant said that DePape told authorities he "broke into the house through a glass door, which was a difficult task that required the use of a hammer." "When officers removed DePape from Pelosi’s residence, police body worn camera footage showed a glass door that appeared to be laminated glass, broken near the door handle," the report said. The federal complaint also said Paul Pelosi told officers that DePape came into the bedroom where he was sleeping and woke him up, saying "that he wanted to talk to ‘Nancy.’" DePape told officers that he wanted to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage, talk to her, and break "her kneecaps" if she lied. Nancy Pelosi was not in the house when the attack happened. The federal criminal complaint said DePape had zip ties, tape, rope, and at least one hammer with him that morning. DePape has been charged with attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder, and threats to a public official and their family, interim San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said Oct. 31 at a press conference. DePape also faces federal charges of assault on the immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. Our ruling Trump claimed that at the Pelosi house, "the glass it seems was broken from the inside to the out, so it wasn’t a break-in, it was a break out." This is refuted by police and accounts Pelosi and DePape told officials. A Justice Department criminal complaint says DePape told authorities he broke into the house through a glass door and that he wanted to take Nancy Pelosi hostage. Local and federal law enforcement authorities have charged DePape with numerous crimes, including attempted murder, assault on the immediate family member of a federal official and attempted kidnapping of a federal official. Trump’s claim isn’t supported by evidence. We rate it Pants on Fir
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“Marco Rubio le ha votado en contra a los Dreamers” En Facebook, un anuncio de campaña en español muestra a una mujer venezolana llamando al senador republicano de Florida, Marco Rubio "hipócrita". La mujer afirma que Rubio, quien busca la reelección, le ha quitado "la posibilidad a los Dreamers". La palabra "Dreamers" se utiliza comúnmente para describir, en términos generales, a los inmigrantes que vinieron a Estados Unidos de manera ilegal cuando eran niños. "Voten correctamente. Por que al final tu quieres a alguien que te represente y apoye los valores y ayude a solucionar nuestros problemas", la mujer dice en el anuncio del 18 de octubre publicado por el Florida Immigrant Coalition, una alianza de organizaciones que abogan por los inmigrantes. El subtítulo de la publicación crítica el historial de votos de Rubio frente al programa de Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA, por sus siglas en inglés). El programa fue creado durante la administración del Presidente Barack Obama, y evita la deportación de aquellos inmigrantes que entraron a Estados Unidos de manera ilegal cuando eran niños. "Marco Rubio le ha votado en contra a los Dreamers, jóvenes inmigrantes traídos a Estados Unidos de pequeños, para que pueden tener una oportunidad digna a su ciudadanía. Al hacer esto le está tronchando sus sueños y su futuro", dice el subtítulo. Como evidencia para respaldar la declaración, el grupo Florida Immigrant Coalition le envió a PolitiFact un artículo del Tampa Bay Times sobre unos votos de Rubio en febrero de 2018. Rubio votó en contra de dos propuestas que incluían un camino hacia la ciudadanía para los beneficiarios de DACA. Pero también apoyó otra propuesta que también incluía un camino a la ciudadanía para estos inmigrantes. La mayor diferencia entre las propuestas tenía que ver con temas de seguridad fronteriza e inmigración legal, no con la posible ciudadanía para los inmigrantes que llegaron al país cuando eran niños. Votos de Rubio sobre DACA en 2018 En 2017, la administración del Presidente Donald Trump intentó terminar el programa de acción diferida. Ese mismo año un grupo de fiscales generales a nivel estatal demandaron a la administración para mantener el programa de pie. En 2020, el caso llegó a la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos, la cual falló en contra de la decisión del gobierno de acabar con el programa. Mientras el caso estaba en litigio, el congreso trabajó para crear una solución legislativa para los beneficiarios del programa. Trump le había otorgado a los congresistas un plazo hasta el 5 de marzo de 2018 para finalizar una propuesta apoyada por ambos partidos. La administración de Trump publicó una estrategia política que apoyaría, la cual incluía: financiamiento para proyectos de seguridad fronteriza, estatus legal para los beneficiarios del programa de acción diferida, límites en la inmigracion de familiares y la eliminación del programa de visas de diversidad. El 15 de febrero de 2018, el senado votó sobre tres propuestas que proveerían un camino hacia la ciudadanía para los beneficiarios de DACA. Ninguna fue aprobada. Esto es lo que cada propuesta incluía: Featured Fact-check Adam Laxalt stated on November 20, 2022 in an ad “Biden and Democrats have dismantled border security.” By Maria Ramirez Uribe • November 3, 2022 Uniting and Securing America Act: Esta propuesta bipartidista, patrocinada por el Senador Respublicano John McCain de Arizona y el Senador Chris Coons, Demócrata de Delaware, creaba un camino hacia la ciudadanía para 1.8 millones de inmigrantes que llegaron a Estados Unidos de manera ilegal como niños, pero no incluía financiamiento para un muro en la frontera. La propuesta falló con un voto de 54-45. Immigration Security and Opportunity Act: Esta propuesta patrocinada por un grupo de 16 senadores de ambos partidos proveía un camino a la ciudadanía para 1.8 millones de inmigrantes, ofrecía $25 millones para un muro en la frontera sur del país, y prevenía que los beneficiarios de DACA patrocinaran a sus padres para un estatus migratorio legal (algo que pueden hacer los residentes permanentes legales del país). La propuesta también falló con un voto de 54-45. Secure And Succeed Act: La propuesta patrocinada por el Senador Chuck Grassley, Republicano de Iowa, y otros senadores Republicanos, era un reflejo de la estrategia de Trump. Proveía un camino a la ciudadanía para 1.8 millones de inmigrantes, ofrecía $25 millones para la frontera sur del país y limitaba la inmigración legal. La propuesta falló con un voto de 52-47. Antes de que los senadores votaran, Trump dijo que no aprobaría ninguna de las dos propuestas bipartidistas. Rubio votó en contra de las dos propuestas bipartidistas y a favor de la propuesta Republicana. "Vote a favor del plan del Senador Grassley porque es el que mejor representa los principios que he y continuó apoyando, incluidas las provisiones para los jóvenes que fueron traídos de manera ilegal al país sin culpa y para la seguridad fronteriza", Rubio dijo en una declaración después del voto. Rubio dijo que tenía la intención de seguir trabajando con los senadores en "una propuesta más limitada" que crearía un sistema permanente para la renovación de los permisos en el programa de acción diferida y que proveería medidas de seguridad fronteriza "significativas". La postura de Rubio sobre DACA a través de los años Desde que se creó el programa de acción diferida, Rubio ha permanecido constante en su opinión que el programa fue creado de manera ilegal y que la rama ejecutiva no tenía la autoridad para crearlo. Rubio ha afirmado que el congreso tiene la responsabilidad de crear una solución permanente para aquellos inmigrantes que llegaron a Estados Unidos de manera ilegal de niños. Ha sido menos consistente en su opinión sobre en qué momento se debe acabar el programa. En ciertos momentos Rubio ha apoyado la idea de que el programa se debe terminar solo después de que se llegue a una solución legislativa. Pero durante su candidatura para la presidencia en el 2015, dijo que terminaría el programa en su primer día como presidente, sin importar si el congreso había llegado a un compromiso. Nuestra calificación El Florida Immigrant Coalition afirmó que "Marco Rubio le ha votado en contra a los Dreamers". En el 2018, Rubio votó en contra de dos propuestas que creaban un camino hacia la ciudadanía para los participantes de DACA. Sin embargo, votó a favor de otra propuesta que también incluía un camino hacia la ciudadanía para los beneficiarios del programa, y añadía más seguridad fronteriza y límites a la inmigracion legal. La afirmación es parcialmente precisa, pero omite detalles importantes o saca las cosas de contexto. Calificamos la declaración como Medio Cierta. Este reportaje también esta disponible en inglé
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“One in six local election officials have received threats of violence” and threats against judges have doubled over four years and threats against members of Congress have increased by 10 times over five years The violent attack Oct. 28 on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by a man who allegedly said "Where is Nancy?" is not an isolated example of threats facing government officials. On NBC’s "Meet the Press" on Oct. 30, host Chuck Todd reeled off examples of instances in which public officials were violently threatened over the past decade. They included the armed man who was arrested near U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home; a man sentenced for making death threats against Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert; and two shootings that targeted congressional members and left U.S. Reps. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., and Steve Scalise, R-La., seriously injured. "Since former President Trump's election in 2016, the number of recorded threats against members of Congress has increased by 967%, that is not a typo folks, to more than 9,600 last year," Todd said. Todd asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., what she had learned about the attack against Paul Pelosi. Klobuchar reeled off a list of statistics about threats that public officials face. "One in six local election officials have received threats of violence, doubling the number of threats against judges in just the last four-year period," Klobuchar said. "And then you've got, as you noted, elected officials in Congress, 10 times the amount of threats in a five-year period. This has to end." A spokesperson for Klobuchar sent us a survey of election officials and reports or statements from federal sources about threats faced by court officials or members of Congress. Klobuchar’s numbers are generally correct but require context. The increase in threats directed at public officials are driven by social and political divisions, as well as by how people process misinformation and disinformation, said Javed Ali, an associate professor who teaches courses on national security and domestic terrorism at the University of Michigan. The hardest threats for law enforcement to thwart are those orchestrated by lone actors, like the man who went to Pelosi’s home. "Unless a person is under investigation and on law enforcement’s radar, how would you know they are trying to put their own individual plot in motion?" Ali said. Brennan Center survey found high number of election officials facing threats The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law sponsored a survey of local election officials nationwide and published the results in March. The Brennan Center purchased a list of about 9,000 election officials from the U.S. Vote Foundation and contacted everyone with a deliverable email address, inviting them to participate in the survey. Nearly 600 local election officials from across the country completed the online survey Jan. 31 to Feb. 14. The survey found that 1 in 6 local election officials had experienced threats and more than 3 in 4 reported that they felt threats had increased in recent years. A similar survey was conducted for Brennan in 2021 and found similar results. The threats against election officials followed the dissemination of falsehoods about voting and elections spread on social media and by former President Donald Trump and his allies. An election worker in Georgia said the FBI directed her to go into hiding after she was targeted with threats. Election officials have taken steps to improve security such as installing cameras, adding plexiglass walls around equipment or reception areas and hiring security workers — or, in one case we know of, even wearing a bulletproof vest. Colorado state lawmakers have passed bills since 2020 intended to protect election workers and voters, including a prohibition on openly carrying a firearm within 100 feet of a voting or ballot tabulation site during an election. The Justice Department formed a task force in 2021 to investigate threats. Eight people have been charged, including one that predates the task force. Sam Oliker-Friedland, a former voting rights lawyer at the Justice Department during the Obama and Trump administrations, told PolitiFact that physical security has always been a concern for election officials, but the scale of threats has risen since 2020. He said that local election officials need more money for security and that Congress should pass a proposal by a Senate committee to provide $400 million for election security grants. Oliker-Friedland is now the executive director of the Institute for Responsive Government, an organization providing governments with research, including on election infrastructure. Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 14, 2022 in an Instagram post Video footage showing Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi hiding on Jan. 6, 2021, shows the U.S. Capitol attack “was a setup.” By Madison Czopek • October 17, 2022 Threats against federal court officials have risen Klobuchar’s office also pointed to documents from the U.S. Marshals Service showing that threats against federal court officials are on the rise. The Marshals’ Service 2021 annual report showed in Figure 9 that the number of threats resulting in investigations rose from 363 in 2017 to 1,343 in 2021. That’s between a three- and fourfold increase, even more than the doubling cited by Klobuchar. The report also includes a broader category of inappropriate comments or threats to protected people, which rose from 2,847 in 2017 to 4,511 in 2021. Klobuchar’s office pointed to articles by Reuters and CBS that describe the 4,000 figure as threats against federal judges. However, in the Marshals Service’s description of its duties, it said that it is responsible for the security of 2,700 federal judges and 30,300 federal prosecutors and court officials. A spokesperson for that agency didn’t readily have a number for threats that pertained only to judges compared with other protectees. U.S. Capitol Police have seen an increase in threats against Congress In 2016, Capitol Police investigated approximately 902 threatening communications, according to a letter written in 2017 by the U.S. House Office of the Sergeant at Arms. After Trump took office, threats against lawmakers rose each year for the next five years. Data from the U.S. Capitol Police showed they investigated 3,939 threats against lawmakers in 2017, rising to 9,625 in 2021. The increase of 902 threats in 2016 to 9,625 in 2021 matches Klobuchar’s comment about a tenfold increase. Nearly two years after the attack by pro-Trump supporters on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, threats against lawmakers continue. The New York Times found that for threats that led to indictments, "more than a third were made by Republican or pro-Trump individuals against Democrats or Republicans deemed insufficiently loyal to the former president, and nearly a quarter were by Democrats targeting Republicans." The Times said data suggested threats were particularly acute against lawmakers of color — they outspent their white colleagues on security by about $17,500 on average. Why the threats have increased Peter Simi, a sociology professor at Chapman University, said there isn’t a single factor to point to for the increase in threats but attributed it partly to the "Trump effect." Starting in Trump’s 2016 campaign, Trump made comments that an ordinary listener would understand as tolerance for, and sometimes even a favorable disposition toward, physical violence. Threats against high-profile politicians including presidents are not new but threats against lawmakers have surged, said Michael Jensen, principal investigator at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland. "Since January 6th, groups like the Proud Boys have shifted their strategy, moving from a national to local focus ahead of the midterm elections," Jensen said. "These actors have mobilized in their communities to threaten and intimidate members of local school and health boards, county representatives, and judges." Threats against lawmakers and other elected representatives are occurring along with an overall increase in political violence in the United States. A recent report by the FBI and Homeland Security shows that domestic terrorism investigations rose from about 1,000 in 2020 to more than 2,700 in 2021, Jensen said. Arrests rose from a little more than 100 to more than 800. "These trends underscore the importance of voting to reinforce democratic processes as the legitimate means of political expression," Jensen said. "Votes can also send a message to political candidates that the mainstreaming of extremism will not be rewarded at the polls. " Our ruling Klobuchar said "one in six local election officials have received threats of violence," that threats against judges have doubled over four years and threats against members of Congress have increased by 10 times over five years. A survey done for the Brennan Center earlier this year of about 600 local election officials nationwide found 1 in 6 faced threats. While Klobuchar singled out judges, federal data shows threats that were investigated against the judiciary and other federal court officials rose between three and four times between 2017 and 2021. The figure is closer to double if we look at a broader category of inappropriate comments and threats. Threats investigated against members of Congress rose from 902 in 2016 to 9,625 in 2021. We rate this statement Mostly True. RELATED: Misinformation fuels false narratives about attack on Paul Pelosi RELATED: No, the Pelosis aren’t withholding surveillance video from police RELATED: Most states don’t explicitly ban guns at polls. Some lawmakers want to change th
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Police dispatch audio from Paul Pelosi’s attack was recorded in a Moscow studio Authorities have praised the emergency dispatcher who fielded Paul Pelosi’s 911 call on Oct. 28 after an attacker broke into the San Francisco residence he shares with his wife, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. News organizations have published police radio chatter that followed that call, and at least one Instagram post is making unfounded claims that the audio originated in Russia. Sharing a screenshot of what looks like a headline that said "Police dispatch audio: Paul Pelosi when calling cops said ‘he doesn’t know who the male is but advised that his name is David and he is a friend,’" the Oct. 29 post said: "Russian disinformation. Classic signs. They did the audio in a studio on Moscow." This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) The headline accurately captures what was relayed in the audio recording of a San Francisco dispatcher, though it doesn’t make clear that David DePape, the man accused of attacking Pelosi, "advised that his name is David and that he is a friend." Pelosi wasn’t saying that DePape was a friend. Featured Fact-check Viral image stated on October 29, 2022 in an Instagram post The Pelosis “are refusing to turn over surveillance video of their home.” By Ciara O'Rourke • October 31, 2022 Pelosi’s call "enabled the dispatcher, at 2:32 a.m. Friday, to elevate the call to an emergency, according to officials and police audio dispatches," the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Two minutes later, two police officers arrived at the residence and tackled the man identified as DePape "moments after he allegedly struck Paul Pelosi with a hammer." In an Oct. 28 Facebook post, the San Francisco Police Department wrote that the police chief wanted to thank the officers and emergency dispatcher "for their swift action." The federal criminal complaint against DePape details the 911 call San Francisco dispatch received from Pelosi, who was "located at the Pelosi residence in San Francisco, California." There is no evidence to support the claim that the call or police dispatch audio were recorded in a studio in Moscow. We rate that claim Pants on Fir
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Kari Lake and Mark Finchem “have said that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree with it. With the first ad from her anti-Donald Trump political action committee, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., attacked two Trump-endorsed Republican candidates in Arizona as being election deniers. The 30-second spot from The Great Task was released Oct. 28, less than two weeks before Election Day. It begins by showing Cheney speaking at an event. "I don’t know that I have ever voted for a Democrat, but if I lived in Arizona, I absolutely would," she says. "You have a candidate for governor, in Kari Lake, you have a candidate for secretary of state, in Mark Finchem, both of whom have said that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree with it." Cheney continues: "And if you care about the survival of our republic, we cannot give people power who will not honor elections. We must have elected officials who honor that responsibility." The clips are lightly edited remarks Cheney made Oct. 5 at the McCain Institute, a think tank named after the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Lake and Finchem filed a lawsuit based on false claims of problems with vote-counting machines that would have required Arizona officials to count Nov. 8 ballots by hand. The lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge in August. They have also made statements suggesting they would refuse to accept election results. Both Lake, a former Phoenix TV news anchor, and Finchem, a state representative, are running for open seats. Lake is running against Democrat Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state. Finchem’s challenger is Democrat Adrian Fontes, a former Maricopa County election official. Lake wouldn’t commit to accepting result of her race Lake, in a CNN interview Oct. 16, refused to commit to accepting the results of her election. There was this exchange between her and anchor-reporter Dana Bash: Bash: "Will you accept the results of the election in your election? Will you accept the results?" Lake: "Can we talk about issues? I came on here thinking we were going to talk about the issues facing Arizonans right now." Moments later, Bash tried again. Bash: "Will you accept the results of your election, Ms. Lake?" Lake: After making claims about Hobbs, Lake said: "I'm not going to lose this election, because the people of Arizona will never elect a racist like Katie Hobbs. They just won't." Bash: "My question is, will you accept the results of your election in November?" Lake: "I'm going to win the election, and I will accept that result." Bash: "If you lose, will you accept that?" Lake: "I'm going to win the election, and I will accept that result …" Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 25, 2022 in an Instagram post The documentary “2,000 Mules proves” Democrats “cheated on the 2020 elections.” By Jon Greenberg • October 28, 2022 Later in October, Lake said in an ABC News interview that she would accept her election result, under certain circumstances. Here was her exchange with reporter Jonathan Karl: Karl: "But let me ask you, why it is that you have not said — or maybe you'll do it now — you have not said that you will accept the certified results of this election, even if you lose this election?" Lake: "I will accept the results of this election if we have a fair, honest and transparent election. Absolutely, 100%." Karl: "So, if you were to lose — and you're ahead — but if you were to lose, and you went out and you had all your appeals, they went through —" Lake: "As long as it's fair, honest and transparent." Karl: "And certified …" Lake: "It looks like my opponent might have to determine that." Karl: "Well, she is the secretary —" Lake: "That's an interesting conundrum, isn't it?" Lake’s campaign said in an email to PolitiFact that Lake "feels very confident that she will win," that the voters won’t elect Hobbs and that she "will absolutely accept the results of a fair, honest and transparent election." Finchem vowed not to concede Finchem vowed at a June fundraiser before winning his August primary that he would not concede. He said: "Ain't gonna be no concession speech coming from this guy. I'm going to demand a 100% hand count if there is the slightest hint that there's an impropriety. And I will urge the next governor to do the same." Finchem has also not committed to certifying Arizona’s vote in the 2024 presidential election if he were to be elected secretary of state. Finchem told PBS that he would certify that election "as long as all lawful votes are counted and all votes cast are under the law," but did not respond to follow-up questions about who decides if the votes were lawful or whether he would accept results of court proceedings. Finchem has falsely claimed Trump won the 2020 election and supported bills to decertify some counties’ 2020 election results. Finchem’s campaign did not respond to our messages. Cheney, who was elected to Wyoming’s lone House seat in 2016, announced her leadership PAC after she was defeated in the August primary by Republican Harriet Hageman, whom Trump endorsed. The PAC’s aim is to "educate the American people about the ongoing threat to our republic" and to mobilize against any Trump campaign for president. Our ruling Cheney claimed Lake and Finchem "have said that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree with it." Lake has insisted she will win her race and said she would accept that result. Asked in one October interview whether she would accept a losing result, she declined to answer. Asked in another how she would respond if she lost, she said she’d accept the result "as long as it’s fair, honest and transparent." Before winning his August primary, Finchem vowed he would not concede, saying he would "demand a 100% hand count if there is the slightest hint that there's an impropriety." Cheney’s claim is accurate but needs additional information. We rate it Mostly True. RELATED: All of our fact-checks about Arizona RELATED: How could U.S. voting be affected if election deniers win? RELATED: Fact-checking ads in the 2022 election campaig
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Security cameras at Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home malfunctioned “for the duration of the break-in, so officials have ended their investigation. Amid misinformation about the Oct. 28 assault of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, in their San Francisco home are unfounded claims about security footage. We previously debunked an Instagram post that said the Pelosis refused to "turn over surveillance video of their home." Another Instagram post alleges there was no footage at all. "BREAKING," the Oct. 30 post says. "Unfortunately all 28 security cameras at the Pelosi residence malfunctioned for the duration of the break-in, so officials have ended their investigation and concluded UltraMAGA white supremacy was the motivation." This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi, told PolitiFact this claim was fabricated. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 15, 2022 in Instagram post Seattle authorities are investigating a string of serial killings. By Michael Majchrowicz • October 17, 2022 We found no credible reports, from the government, police or media, to suggest otherwise. Politico reported that the U.S. Capitol Police has access to the security camera feed from the San Francisco home. The police are conducting a review of the Oct. 28 incident, including looking at their command center, "which was monitoring the security camera feed from Pelosi’s home, according to a person familiar," Politico said. Officials have not ended their investigation into the attack. The FBI San Francisco field office, the Capitol Police and the San Francisco Police Department are all investigating. David DePape, 42, the man accused in the assault, faces state and federal charges including assault, attempted kidnapping, attempted murder and elder abuse. We rate this post Pants on Fire!
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“If outer space was a vacuum, astronauts would train in vacuum chambers. Not in swimming pools. Outer Space is a hoax. Outer space is not real, or at least that’s the claim an Instagram post makes after calling into question long-established training methods for astronauts. The Oct. 25 post is a collage of three stacked photos showing a digital rendering of space, a NASA vacuum chamber and an astronaut submerged in water. "If outer space was a vacuum, astronauts would train in vacuum chambers, not in swimming pools," reads text overlaid on the post, which is accompanied by the caption "Outer Space is a hoax." The post was flagged as part of Instagram’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Implying that vacuum chambers aren’t used in specialized training for astronauts is both misleading and false. Astronauts train inside vacuum chambers as well as underwater in swimming pools, according to NASA. This is evidenced by a video published on the verified YouTube account for NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which serves as the operational homebase for International Space Station missions. Daniel Huot, a NASA spokesperson, told PolitiFact in a statement that spacesuit-clad astronauts train in vacuum chambers to become better acquainted with how pressure changes in outer space. "A vacuum is the absence of matter, put very simply the absence of stuff. For outer space, that means there is no atmosphere like we have here on Earth," Huot said. NASA tests materials, spacesuits and spacecraft in a vacuum environment on Earth, Huot said, "because a lot of important processes change (processes like heat transfer or how things get warmer or colder.)" In space, temperatures are around absolute zero (or about -440 degrees Fahrenheit), according to NASA. Featured Fact-check Viral image stated on October 23, 2022 in an Instagram post “Wikileaks releases moon landing cut scenes filmed in the Nevada desert.” By Ciara O'Rourke • October 25, 2022 The training that astronauts complete in a swimming pool, meanwhile, is meant to replicate a microgravity environment. NASA said microgravity is "the condition in which people or objects appear to be weightless. … microgravity refers to the condition where gravity seems to be very small." The Instagram post, Huot says, "demonstrates a misunderstanding of the fundamentals of two separate things: a vacuum and microgravity." The Oct. 25 Instagram post was shared by an account that claims the Earth is flat. NASA has emphatically reinforced indisputable evidence showing Earth is not flat. "Humans have known that the Earth is round for more than 2,000 years," a NASA spokesperson previously told PolitiFact. "The ancient Greeks measured shadows during summer solstice and also calculated Earth’s circumference. They used positions of stars and constellations to estimate distances on Earth. They could even see the planet’s round shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse." Our ruling An Instagram post claimed, "If outer space was a vacuum, astronauts would train in vacuum chambers. Not in swimming pools. Outer Space is a hoax." Astronauts train in both settings. They train in vacuum chambers to understand pressure changes in outer space, and they train in swimming pools to experience a microgravity environment. Evidence shows outer space is real and Earth is spherical, not flat. We rate this claim Pants on Fir
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“We finally achieved that energy independence… under the Trump administration. President Biden squandered (it) away. High gasoline prices have been top of mind for many voters across the country, with Republicans zeroing in on the issue and largely blaming Democrats and President Joe Biden. In Wisconsin's second and final U.S. Senate debate, Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson proposed a solution to the prices at the pump and 40-year high inflation: "You have to grow our economy but stop the deficit spending and become energy independent," he said. "Stop the war on fossil fuel." The call for energy independence has been made by Republicans and Democrats alike. But Johnson has been vocal about that push while dismissing the Biden Administration’s investment in clean energy. That reminded us of a claim we have been meaning to get to — one from a July 14 blog post about gas prices on Johnson’s website: "We finally achieved that energy independence, just like we largely gained control of our border, under the Trump administration. President Biden squandered away both achievements." We’ll focus here on the claim about energy independence. Did the U.S. achieve energy independence under Donald Trump and lose that status under Biden? The metrics of energy independence Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated oil supply across the globe. Recently, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Russia and Saudi Arabia, slashed oil production in a move expected to send gas prices higher. To consider Johnson’s claim, let’s start by defining what energy independence means. There are actually multiple ways to view it. First, many voters may take energy independence to mean the United States does not import any oil. But that hasn’t been true for at least seven decades. It could also mean the U.S. doesn’t import any energy, which is also not the case. A more common metric for energy independence is whether a country is exporting more total energy than it imports. In Johnson’s case, the senator was referring to something more narrow — not total energy, but exports of crude oil and petroleum products exceeding imports of crude oil and petroleum products. When we asked for backup, his office pointed to U.S. Energy Information Administration data that show the U.S. did indeed become a net exporter of oil and petroleum products at the end of 2019 under then-President Donald Trump. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 25, 2022 in an Instagram post The documentary “2,000 Mules proves” Democrats “cheated on the 2020 elections.” By Jon Greenberg • October 28, 2022 But the data also shows the U.S. has maintained that net export status — the metric Johnson used to consider energy independence — during the Biden administration in 2021, though it is significantly lower than it was in 2020. (During both 2020 and 2021, the U.S. fluctuated between importing more crude oil and petroleum products and exporting more crude oil and petroleum products but ended both years with a net export.) In the first seven months of 2022, according to the most recent Energy Information Administration data, the country has continued that exporting trend. So, the U.S. has not "squandered" that position under Biden. Johnson’s office did reference an Energy Information Administration from February 2022 that noted the country would shift back to net import status by the end of the year. But the most recent data indicate that has not happened so far. Gregory Nemet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin’s La Follette School of Public Affairs who researches energy and public policy, noted the figures Johnson referenced include both crude oil and refined products such as gasoline and does not include other energy sources. Lumping those two things together to determine energy independence, he said, doesn’t make much sense because refined products are converted from crude oil. "It’s simply double counting," Nemet said. "For example, if we import oil from Canada and refine that into gasoline and sell the gasoline to Mexico, this number would say we are at net zero imports. That’s not what people care about when wanting independence." If you consider just crude oil, Nemet pointed out, the U.S. has been a net importer for decades. In 2020, for example, the country imported a net 2.67 million barrels of crude oil per day. In 2021, that number was a net 3.13 million barrels per day. Finally, if we consider the total energy metric — including sources like electricity, oil, coal and natural gas — the U.S. has been an annual net total energy exporter since 2019. Our ruling Johnson claimed "We finally achieved that energy independence … under the Trump administration. President Biden squandered (it) away." By some measures, this is wrong — the U.S. has relied on imported oil products for decades and continues to do so. By choosing a more narrow metric, Johnson cites an accurate number: Late in the Trump administration, the U.S. began exporting more crude oil and petroleum products than it imports. But Johnson is also wrong to say the situation has been reversed under Biden. Our definition of Mostly False is: "The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression." That fits here. window.gciAnalyticsUAID = 'PMJS-TEALIUM-COBRAND'; window.gciAnalyticsLoadEvents = false; window.gciAnalytics.view({ 'event-type': 'pageview', 'content-type': 'interactives', 'content-ssts-section': 'news', 'content-ssts-subsection': 'news:politics', 'content-ssts-topic': 'news:politics:politifactwisconsin', 'content-ssts-subtopic': ' news:politics:politifactwisconsin' });
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Document shows Rebekah Jones “demonstrated” a violation of Florida’s Whistleblower Act Democratic congressional candidate Rebekah Jones recently shared a document on Instagram misrepresenting the findings of an investigation into a whistleblower complaint she filed in 2020 over COVID-19 data. Jones, who is challenging Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz for Florida’s 1st Congressional District, came to national prominence in 2020. She alleged she was fired from her role as a data scientist for the Florida Department of Health after refusing to manipulate COVID-19 data. A couple of months after her employment ended, Jones filed a complaint with the state’s Commission on Human Relations, and was later granted whistleblower status under state law. In September, the commission concluded its investigation into the matter, saying it did not find "reasonable cause" that the health department subjected Jones to unlawful whistleblower retaliation. On Oct. 26, Jones shared a photo of the commission’s report on her Instagram account that told a different story. In her version, the commission said she "demonstrated" a violation of Florida’s whistleblower law; but the state commission didn’t go that far. By Oct. 28, Jones had archived the post, which removed it from her public Instagram grid. PolitiFact compared a screenshot of Jones’ Instagram post with a report the commission provided. Jones maintains that the version of the report shared on her campaign’s Instagram account is the "original, certified copy" mailed to her by the commission in September. But it contains differences from the official version commission spokesperson Frank Penela provided to PolitiFact. Jones’ Instagram post showed only the first page of the commission’s report. Her campaign sent a copy of the full report she received to PolitiFact. The main difference between Jones’ version of the document and what the commission says is the "official" document is the word "demonstrated." In the version shared by Jones, the document states that she did disclose "and demonstrated" a violation of Florida’s Whistleblower Act. (We added the bold emphasis below.) Complainant did disclose and demonstrated a) a violation of law "which creates and presents a substantial and specific danger to the public’s health, safety, or welfare;" or b) actual or suspected "gross mismanagement" as defined by the Act or "malfeasance, misfeasance, gross waste of public funds, suspected or actual Medicaid fraud or abuse, or gross neglect of duty committed by an employee or agent of an agency or independent contractor." Jones also used the word "demonstrated" in a blog post and video on her campaign’s website about the commission’s report. Featured Fact-check Instagram posts stated on October 22, 2022 in an Instagram post Ballots are “mailed unconstitutionally” to every voter in Colorado. By Madison Czopek • October 26, 2022 "This investigation looked at two points: the legitimacy of my complaint itself and whether or not I was retaliated against for filing it," Jones said in the video. "In the first, I did demonstrate that the state was putting people in danger. However, I did not incur adverse action as defined by the (Whistleblower) Act after filing the complaint with the commission." However, the word "demonstrated" does not appear in the state’s version of the document. It says (emphasis added): "Complainant did disclose either: a) a violation of law …" and continues to describe the violations defined by state law. The commission’s investigation found that Jones disclosed a violation that qualified her for whistleblower protection, not that she demonstrated a violation of the state’s whistleblower law. Additionally, in Jones’ version of the report, the second page lists a specific Florida statute about the suspension of state employees; the state’s version does not include this. There are also minor formatting differences between the documents. In the state’s version, the phrase "Florida Statutes" is italicized every time. But in three instances, in Jones’ version of the report, "Florida Statutes" is not italicized. Jones’ version also shows opening quotation marks in two instances where closing quotation marks are used in the state’s version. When asked for comment on the discrepancies between the two versions, Jones said the state has made false claims against her in the past, so "we’re not surprised the state would lie again." Metadata for the state’s version of the document shows the report was created at 11:03 a.m. on Sept. 12, the same day the report was released and mailed to Jones. Our ruling Jones shared a photo of the report the Commission on Human Relations released about Jones’ whistleblower complaint. The version of the report in the photo included multiple discrepancies from the official version released by the commission. Jones’ version claims the commission found she had "demonstrated" a violation of Florida’s Whistleblower Act. The word "demonstrated" does not appear in the official version of the report. It states Jones disclosed a violation of the state law that qualified her for whistleblower protections. We rate this claim False. RELATED: Gaetz draws misleading comparison on Jones 'campaign even
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“If you use the US Postal Service certified mail or registered mail, they can do anything they want with those ballots." They “can burn your mail and they won't get in any trouble. Misleading claims about the safety of mail-in voting aren’t new, but a recent Instagram video has added a new twist, claiming that people must choose the right postal service to ensure their ballots are counted. The Oct. 27 video features a man sitting in his car saying that the U.S. Post Office is a "de jure postal service," while the U.S. Postal Service is a "de facto" federal corporation. The man claims the Postal Service doesn’t "work for the people," and it can do whatever it wants to mail-in ballots. "If you use the United States Postal Service certified mail or registered mail, they can do anything they want with those (mail-in) ballots," he said. "They can take a box of those ballots, a crate of those ballots … leave them there, they could set them on fire, they can throw them in the dumpster." The man said the only way for a mail-in ballot to be safely counted is if it’s sent by registered mail. "Registered mail is a bond, no one can scam that. If they do, they’re looking at serious jail time," he said. "If you go to the United States Postal Service, they can get away with (scamming). They can burn your mail and they won’t get into any trouble." The U.S. Postal Service is not a federal corporation, and there’s no difference between it and the post office — they are the same entity. Studies and experts have repeatedly found that voting by mail is a safe and secure way to cast a ballot. The Instagram post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Postal Service spokeswoman Martha Johnson said there is "absolutely no truth to the claims" in the Instagram video. The U.S. Postal Service was established by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, which transformed the U.S. Post Office Department into an "independent establishment of the executive branch" and is the only postal service in the country that handles mail. Although the service has some trappings of a corporation, such as a similar leadership structure and not relying on taxpayer funding, it is still considered a government agency. Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 18, 2022 in a post Connecticut ballot initiative on early voting would "remove the requirement of a certified seal from certain ballots." By Andy Nguyen • October 27, 2022 The term post office is typically made about facilities used by the Postal Service where people can buy stamps or drop off packages or letters, but it’s often colloquially used for the Postal Service itself. Gerry Langeler, a spokesman for the National Vote at Home Institute, said the Instagram video’s claim that postal workers can do whatever they want to ballots is "poppycock." Federal law prohibits Postal Service employees from destroying or tampering with mail, including election mail. If caught destroying or diverting election mail, employees face state and federal penalties, Langeler said. There have been a few incidents of Postal Service employees dumping or holding onto ballots. Authorities recovered the ballots and re-sent them through the mail. Those incidents are few and far between, as most ballots sent through the mail get to election officials on time. Mail-in ballots are treated as first-class mail by default, which means they will arrive within two to five business days after being sent. It is Postal Service policy to prioritize election mail, and ballots are still delivered to election offices even if they do not have enough postage. A Postal Service analysis during the 2021 elections found that 99.3% of ballots reached officials within three days of being sent by voters, 99.8% within five days and 99.9% within seven days. Voters can check the status of their ballots online through their local or state election office if tracking is available. Many local election offices allow voters to sign up for free to receive a text or email alerting them when their mail ballots have been received, such as through BallotTrax. "If it suddenly doesn’t seem to be making progress, you can alert your elections office, have that ballot voided, and have a new one issued, with a new unique bar code on the return envelope," Langeler said. Our ruling An Instagram video claims voters should not mail in their ballots through the U.S. Postal Service because employees could destroy them and encourages people to send them through the U.S. Post Office instead. The U.S. Postal Service is the nation’s only postal service, and the post office is a colloquial term used for the agency. Postal Service employees are prohibited by federal law from destroying or tampering with election mail, including ballots. We rate this claim Pants on Fir
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A photo shows David DePape filming the Jan. 6 Capitol attack A recent Instagram post juxtaposes two photos that have appeared in recent news coverage of the Oct. 28 attack on Paul Pelosi at the San Francisco home he shares with his wife, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. David DePape has been charged with assaulting Paul Pelosi and with attempting to kidnap Nancy Pelosi. Two photos of him appear in the Instagram post. The left image shows "Paul’s friend," the post said. "Right is cameraman from J6," referring to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) We found both photos using a reverse image search. They’re both archived on The Associated Press’ website. Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 14, 2022 in an Instagram post Video footage showing Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi hiding on Jan. 6, 2021, shows the U.S. Capitol attack “was a setup.” By Madison Czopek • October 17, 2022 In the photo on the left, DePape — who Paul Pelosi has said was a stranger, not a friend, according to authorities — is shown in Berkeley, California, on Dec. 13, 2013. RELATED VIDEO In the photo on the right, DePape is holding a video camera, but he’s not filming the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. He wasn’t even in Washington, D.C., when the photo was taken. Rather, he’s filming "the nude wedding of Gypsy Taub outside City Hall" in San Francisco on Dec. 19, 2013. DePape was known in Berkeley "as a pro-nudity activist who had picketed naked at protests against local ordinances requiring people to be clothed in public," the AP said. We rate claims this photo shows him filming the Capitol attack False.
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California state Sen. Scott Wiener “doesn’t just want to sterilize California kids, but sterilization of kids everywhere! Forced sterilization is the stuff human rights organizations rail against. The International Justice Resource Center, for example, calls it "a human rights violation and can constitute an act of genocide, gender-based violence, discrimination, and torture." But an Instagram post suggests that one California lawmaker is advocating sterilization of children everywhere. The Oct. 23 post showed a Halloween event in which three adults in costumes stand next to a man in everyday attire who offers handfuls of candy to children. "That is senator Scott Weiner handing candy to that little girl," the Instagram post said. "She looks very uncomfortable doesn’t she? Weiner is the man who authored SB 107 which makes California a sanctuary state for trans kids from all over the country. He doesn’t just want to sterilize California kids, but sterilization of kids everywhere!" To add to the sense of doom, the theme song from the 1978 horror classic "Halloween" plays in the background. The post was flagged as part of Instagram’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Wiener, a Democrat and an attorney whose district includes San Francisco, has been a member of the California Assembly since 2016. He sponsored California Senate Bill 107. It does not call for youth sterilization, as this post suggests. The legislation is meant to protect transgender youth and their families who seek refuge in California after fleeing states that have banned gender-affirming health care for youths. The measure also clarifies that California courts have jurisdiction over any custody cases that may arise from parents taking their children to the state for care. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill, also known as the gender-affirming health care bill, Sept. 29; it will become law in 2023. Featured Fact-check Viral image stated on October 29, 2022 in an Instagram post The Pelosis “are refusing to turn over surveillance video of their home.” By Ciara O'Rourke • October 31, 2022 As defined by the World Health Organization, gender-affirming (also referred to as gender-affirmative) health care broadly refers to any "social, psychological, behavioral or medical (including hormonal treatment or surgery) interventions designed to support and affirm an individual’s gender identity." In a statement to PolitiFact via a spokesperson, Weiner called the claim "vile" and "untrue." "Opponents to the law are willfully mischaracterizing it, including claiming lawmakers support the ‘sterilization’ of children," he said. "The only thing that SB 107 does is ensure that parents and doctors won’t go to jail for allowing trans kids to be who they are by allowing life-saving healthcare." Earlier this year, a host of states introduced varied proposals that would make it a crime for legal guardians to help their children gain access to gender-affirming care. Texas’ Republican governor, Greg Abbott, wrote a letter to state health agencies saying that offering gender-affirming care "constitutes child abuse" and requiring doctors, nurses and teachers report such cases to Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services. A judge partially blocked the directive’s enforcement, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said denying said care to trans youth breached federal law. Our ruling An Instagram video claimed that Wiener, a California state lawmaker, "doesn’t just want to sterilize California kids, but sterilization of kids everywhere!" The post refers to Senate Bill 107, which Wiener sponsored and establishes California as a haven for families of trans youth seeking gender-affirming health care by choice. It does not call for forced sterilization, which is widely considered a human rights violation. We rate this claim False. RELATED: New California law on transgender youths doesn’t remove a parent’s custody
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Video shows “military robots ready for war. A video that appears to show a robot shooting targets with precision even as humans prod and push it over has some people online claiming the footage shows a new kind of soldier. "They got military robots ready for war," a recent Instagram post says. It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) The video originated on the YouTube channel Corridor Crew, which creates and shares videos such as an edited "Star Wars" clip to improve the aim of the franchise’s Stormtroopers. The Instagram post shows just a few moments of the approximately four-minute long video titled "New robot makes soldiers obsolete." But watching the full video clarifies that this isn’t real. At one point, subtitles supposedly translating for the robot read, "oh no not bees I hate bees," as a box full of bees is unleashed on the machine. Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 17, 2022 in una publicación en Facebook "Ministros de Defensa de OTAN deciden invadir a RUSIA para prevenir ataque de Putin”. By Maria Ramirez Uribe • October 17, 2022 The October 2019 YouTube post also has a disclaimer: "This video is a comedic parody and is not owned, endorsed, created by or associated with the Boston Dynamics company." The words "Bosstown Dynamics" appear in the corner of the video, a spoof of the company Boston Dynamics, which has created well-known robots such as a quadrupedal known as Spot. Boston Dynamics recently pledged not to weaponize its robots, Axios first reported. A day after posting its video about a new robot making soldiers obsolete, Corridor Crew posted another showing how it "used CGI to fake military robots." The behind-the-scenes footageshows a person in the position where the "robot" ultimately appeared in the video. (CGI stands for "computer generated imagery.") We rate claims that the footage in the post shows a real military robot Fals
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“All Democrats in the Senate and House voted to cut $280 billion out of Medicare just two months ago. In an interview on CNN’s "State of the Union," Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., repeated a talking point previously used by the National Republican Senatorial Committee — which Scott chairs — in campaign ads. On the show’s Oct. 30 edition, host Dana Bash noted a recent Democratic attack line against GOP candidates, asking Scott, "So, just a simple yes or no, do Republicans want to cut Medicare and/or Social Security?" Scott replied, "Absolutely not. And the Democrats just cut $280 billion, all Democrats in the Senate and House voted to cut $280 billion out of Medicare just two months ago. And then they want to say Republicans want to cut something?" After some cross-talk, Bash said, "Just want to correct the record. The Democrats' plan, which is now law, didn't cut … Medicare benefits. It allowed for negotiation for prescription drug prices, which would ultimately bring down the price and the costs for Medicare consumers." When the National Republican Senatorial Committee previously made this argument in an ad on behalf of Herschel Walker, Georgia’s U.S. Senate candidate, we rated it False. (Other outlets, including The Washington Post Fact Checker, CNN, and FactCheck.org have reached similar conclusions on equivalent statements.) The ad cited Senate roll call vote 325 to back up its assertion. This was the final vote to approve the Inflation Reduction Act, a Biden-backed bill that included provisions addressing climate change, the taxation of very large corporations, and Medicare drug pricing, among other topics. It passed both chambers with only Democratic votes, and it received Biden’s signature. The $280 billion — technically, somewhere between $237 billion and $288 billion, depending on how the numbers are estimated — stems from a provision in the Democratic bill that would end the longstanding bar that kept Medicare from negotiating with drugmakers over the price of certain medicines. Not being able to negotiate prices has meant that Medicare — the pharmaceutical market’s biggest single buyer — could not leverage its weight to secure lower prices for taxpayers. This has been part of the reason U.S. pharmaceutical prices have been higher than those in any other major country. Although the bill is projected to reduce federal spending by about $280 billion, that would reflect government savings and not benefit cuts. In other words, Medicare recipients would receive the same amount of medicines, just for less taxpayer money. "In reality, the bill's prescription drug savings would save the federal government nearly $300 billion through 2031 without cutting benefits," wrote the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a group that favors deficit reduction and has been skeptical of many of Biden’s legislative efforts, citing their cost. "Lowering Medicare costs is not the same as reducing benefits," the committee wrote. "Quite the opposite — many measures to reduce costs for the government would reduce costs for individuals as well." Featured Fact-check Maggie Hassan stated on October 19, 2022 in an ad "Don Bolduc wants to cut trillions from Medicare and end Social Security." By Tom Kertscher • November 1, 2022 After combining the drug-cost savings with the bill’s other health care provisions, Medicare beneficiaries would see decreases in premiums and savings, including through a $2,000 annual cap on out-of-pocket costs, the committee projected. Steve Ellis, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, another group seeking to keep deficits low, told PolitiFact in August that the claims of Medicare cuts from this provision are problematic. "Those are savings resulting mostly from the government negotiating prescription drug prices and limiting drug price increases to inflation," Ellis said. "So rather than taking money out of Medicare, it is reducing Medicare costs." Scott’s office did not respond to an inquiry for this article. (The National Republican Senatorial Committee also didn’t respond to our previous article on the Georgia ad.) Scott noted in his exchange with Bash that the change "means we're going to have fewer lifesaving drugs." Pharmaceutical companies have long argued that cutting prices for prescription drugs will drain the industry of money it uses for researching and testing new drugs. The scale of the impact is uncertain, though the Congressional Budget Office, Congress’ nonpartisan number-crunching agency, estimated a relatively small impact, with one fewer drug in the first decade, four in the next decade and five in the decade after that. But even if the impact on future drugs is significantly greater than that, as the industry argues, it wouldn’t support what Scott said. At most, the Democratic bill would have saved the government $280 billion while having some longer-term, negative, secondary impacts. It would not simply be a cut to Medicare’s budget. Our ruling Scott said, "All Democrats in the Senate and House voted to cut $280 billion out of Medicare just two months ago." This claim is wrong. The federal government would see its outlays reduced between $237 billion and $288 billion as a result of a Medicare drug-price negotiation provision. However, that reduction wouldn’t represent cuts to Medicare beneficiaries. Rather, by leveraging Medicare’s market power, the government would be able to pay less to provide the same medicines. We rate the statement Fals
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Cheri Beasley “backs tax hikes — even on families making under $75,000. A new ad accuses Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley of wanting to bail out the rich and tax lower- to middle-income families. Beasley, a former North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice, faces Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd in North Carolina’s race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr. The contest is expected to be among the nation’s closest Senate races. In the television ad commissioned by the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican-backed political action committee, a narrator says: "It's a question of fairness. Should a waitress be forced to help pay for a doctor’s student loans? Cheri Beasley thinks so. She backs student loan bailouts for the rich — even couples earning a quarter million dollars a year. Who pays? The rest of us. Beasley backs tax hikes — even on families making under $75,000. Cheri Beasley bails out the wealthy and taxes the rest of us." The ad appears to reference President Joe Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness plan, albeit through some misleading statements. Under Biden’s plan, which is being challenged in court, some borrowers who earn well above the median household income in America could qualify for Biden’s student loan debt relief. But, as PolitiFact previously reported, the vast majority of the relief is concentrated on borrowers with lower incomes. But did Beasley really express support for raising taxes on families making less than $75,000 a year? No. The narrator’s transition from student loan bailouts to tax hikes might make it seem like Biden’s debt relief plan is funded by tax increases. That’s not the case. Small on-screen citations signal the advertiser has shifted topics from Biden’s student bailout plan to Beasley’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act. The Inflation Reduction Act, though, does not change federal income tax rates for people earning less than $75,000 a year. The legislation may indirectly affect lower-income taxpayers to the tune of less than 1% of their after-tax income — but not through direct taxes. And expert predictions vary on when or how that would happen. Beasley opposes raising taxes on anyone earning $75,000 or less per year, her campaign said when asked about the ad. Her campaign said the claim had already been debunked, pointing to news articles and fact checks showing that claims about tax hikes in the Inflation Reduction Act have been exaggerated. The campaign highlighted an Associated Press analysis that said: "Nothing in the bill raises taxes on people earning less than $400,000. … There are no individual tax rate increases for anyone in the bill." Backing ‘tax hikes’ Beasley has expressed support for the Inflation Reduction Act, tweeting on Aug. 7 that it would help lower costs and that votes against the legislation were "inexcusable." To back up the claim about tax hikes in the Inflation Reduction Act, the Senate Leadership Fund pointed to an analysis by the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. Republican lawmakers have also cited the analysis when making similar statements about the bill. However, the committee’s analysis offers an incomplete picture of the bill’s effects. The bill, which Biden signed into law in August, only directly levies tax increases on very large corporations and high-earning money managers. Any impact on middle-income taxpayers would be indirect and hard to calculate. Corporations tend to pass along the cost of tax increases through lower returns for investors or lower wages for workers. Featured Fact-check Marco Rubio stated on October 18, 2022 in a campaign ad Val Demings "voted with Pelosi to raise taxes over $4,000 on Florida families." By Yacob Reyes • October 25, 2022 The bill could cost taxpayers about 1% of their annual income, the committee’s analysis found. Households making $75,000 or less would lose 0.5% of their gross income as a result of increased corporate taxes passed on to consumers, or about $350 for someone earning $75,000, the committee found. However, as PolitiFact has previously reported, the committee’s analysis didn’t examine how the bill would help taxpayers in other ways. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonprofit organization that favors deficit reduction and has been skeptical of some of Biden’s spending plans, reported that healthcare subsidies offered for Affordable Care Act plans "alone would be more than enough to counter net tax increases below $400,000 in the (Joint Committee on Taxation) study." The group estimated that, by 2027, the Inflation Reduction Act would provide a net tax cut once fully phased-in. Several groups weighed-in on the bill’s indirect effect on taxpayers, at varying depths and with varying results. The Tax Foundation also believes the ACA subsidies will offset small tax burden increases for low-income households in the short term. However, when the ACA subsidies expire mid-decade, after-tax incomes would go back down. "After-tax incomes are up by 0.3% on average in 2023 and 0.2% in 2032, and in the long-run they fall by 0.2% after taking into account the economic impacts," said Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst and modeling manager at the foundation. The University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Wharton Budget Model predicted a 0.1% drop in after-tax income for low-income earners. Experts at the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center identified the ACA subsidies as an "important factor" when considering the bill’s overall effect on taxpayers. Five former Treasury secretaries signed a statement supporting the bill and rejecting the argument that its provisions represent a tax increase, writing: "Taxes due or paid will not increase for any family making less than $400,000 a year." Our ruling The ad says Cheri Beasley "backs tax hikes — even for families making under $75,000" and referenced the Inflation Reduction Act. Beasley does support the Inflation Reduction Act but the claim is wrong to suggest it includes a change in tax rates for that income bracket. Expert analyses show that any effect on those earners would be on the scale of $350 and, by one estimate, delayed for several years. The claim has a kernel of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly Fals
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"Kim Reynolds doesn’t think nurses are educated. During a back-and-forth at the only Iowa gubernatorial debate on Oct. 17 Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds was criticizing President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. The plan, Reynolds said, would transfer college debt from people with high-paying jobs and a degree to those who choose not to go to college: "And if you’re the truck driver or a machinist or a nurse, or a person that decided not to seek a college education, why should you be responsible in paying somebody else’s off?" Deidre DeJear, Reynolds’ Democratic challenger from Des Moines, used Reynolds’ comment in a social media video, showing Reynolds saying in the Iowa PBS debate: "And if you’re the truck driver, or machinist, or a nurse or a person that decided not to seek a college education." The video, on Twitter and other social media, then states: "Kim Reynolds doesn’t think nurses are educated. She’s wrong." But Reynolds did not explicitly say nurses are not educated so we took a closer look at what the governor said. In the debate. In the debate, Reynolds begins with a list of professions that are unrelated, then adds: "or a person that decided not to seek a college education." Here is more from her statement: "And if you’re the truck driver or a machinist or a nurse, or a person that decided not to seek a college education, why should you be responsible in paying somebody else’s off? Especially when they often make more than you do? It’s not right. It’s not fair. People are upset about it and there were Democrats as well as Republicans that disagreed with the program that he’s put in place." Pat Garrett, Reynolds’ campaign communications director, said Reynolds did not mean that nurses aren’t educated. "She is saying they shouldn’t be responsible for paying off the debt of others," Garrett wrote in an email to PolitiFact Iowa. Featured Fact-check Joe Biden stated on October 23, 2022 in a forum with Now This Student loan forgiveness is “passed. I got it passed by a vote or two. And it’s in effect.” By Louis Jacobson • October 25, 2022 Lavanna Martinez, DeJear’s campaign manager, wrote in an email to PolitiFact Iowa: "It is social media content where viewers can see and hear Reynold’s comment at the debate for themselves." The federal loan plan would forgive $20,000 of student loan debt for students who received a Pell Grant and $10,000 for those ineligible for a Pell Grant. The plan is on hold after the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted temporary injunctionary relief to six Republican-led states, including Iowa, that sued to keep the plan from being implemented. The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan government agency that analyzes the fiscal effects of government policy, released a report in September that showed Biden’s plan would cost $400 billion if it makes its way through the courts. The broader context of Reynolds’ debate comments shows that Iowa’s Board of Nursing, which licenses and supervises registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and advanced registered nurse practitioners, requires all practicing nurses to have a degree from an approved nursing program in community colleges and universities to obtain a license. Certified nursing assistants are required to complete a 75-hour course at a community college or approved healthcare facility. They are registered through the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. Our ruling Deidre DeJear posted on social media during her gubernatorial campaign in Iowa a video that says Gov. Kim Reynolds doesn’t think nurses are educated. Reynolds’ campaign said Reynolds did not mean that nurses are uneducated when listing in a gubernatorial debate workers, starting with those who do not need college degrees for their jobs, who shouldn’t have to pay someone’s college debt. Using part of a comment to accuse Reynolds of thinking nurses are uneducated is an exaggeration. No evidence exists that proves she thinks this, plus state regulations require post K-12 training and certification for nurses. We rate this statement Fals
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"Deidre DeJear refused to stand for police. Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds released a campaign commercial Oct. 6 criticizing her Democratic opponent Deidre DeJear for not standing to applaud law enforcement at Reynolds’ Condition of the State address to the Legislature in January. The commercial says: "Liberal Deidre DeJear refused to stand for police. Can you imagine what she would do as governor?" The ad showed footage from the address when lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike, stood and applauded after Reynolds voiced support for law enforcement. DeJear is shown in a still photo sitting during the ovation. The photo was taken by Iowa Field Report, a politically conservative online publication. "While we can’t fix attitudes in other states," Reynolds said in her address, "we can certainly let our officers and officers across the country know that, in Iowa, they’re welcome and will receive the respect and support they deserve." A key phrase in Reynolds’ ad is "to stand," which has multiple definitions. One Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of stand is: "to support oneself on the feet in an erect position." Another is: "to take up or maintain a specified position or posture." DeJear’s campaign is implying the first definition; Reynolds’ campaign is implying the latter. Reynolds’ campaign communications director, Pat Garrett, provided sourcing to PolitFact Iowa including the photo taken of DeJear sitting. He also pointed out accurately that Democratic legislator Chris Hall, who is critical of Reynolds, was among those standing during the applause. And DeJear admitted in a January Axios interview that she sat during the standing ovation. But why? DeJear’s campaign wrote in an email to PolitiFact Iowa that DeJear sat to protest Reynolds for not offering law enforcement officers more in terms of support than just a $1,000 bonus from American Rescue Plan Act. "Deidre knows that our officers deserve more than a $1,000 bonus and hollow displays of gratitude. Democrats and Republicans alike often talk about supporting our law enforcement and it needs to be met with real actions," Shekinah Young, DeJear’s communications director, wrote. Featured Fact-check Tim Michels stated on October 24, 2022 in News conference Tony Evers “wants to let out between 9,000 and 10,000 more” Wisconsin prisoners By Madeline Heim • November 4, 2022 DeJear openly has said she doesn’t support defunding police and would support increasing reimbursement for mental health professionals in Iowa and fully funding public education if elected governor. Young pointed to DeJear’s work with police during her time as the financial director at the Financial Capability Network that partnered with the Evelyn K. Davis center, a community program that works to help working families gain financial stability. DeJear worked with police departments and law enforcement agencies around the state on reducing recidivism, which aids her understanding of the issues affecting Iowa law enforcement, Young wrote. An example of the solutions DeJear supports to help police includes making mental health care accessible to Iowans so that police with little or no training in dealing with mental health crises have to respond to these crises fewer times, Young wrote. The movement to "Defund the Police" gained traction after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd during a 2022 arrest. A Hennepin County jury convicted Chauvin of murdering Floyd. Our ruling A Kim Reynolds campaign commercial accuses gubernatorial opponent Deidre DeJear of failing to stand for police while showing DeJear sitting during a standing ovation for Reynolds’ January Condition of the State comments on supporting law enforcement. That DeJear didn’t stand during the speech is indisputable; a photo exists and she admitted it. But saying that instance means DeJear would not support police as the governor takes DeJear’s actions at the Condition of the State address out of context. DeJear consistently has said her refusal to stand during the speech was about Reynolds and not police. On her actual policy positions, DeJear has said consistently that she supports programs that can help police. We rate the statement Half Tru
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Says Gov. Tony Evers would, “allow the government to use red flag laws to confiscate your firearms without due process. In the race for governor, a radio ad from the National Rifle Association offers a laundry list of complaints against Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' stance on guns, citing self-defense issues, "California-style" firearm bans and magazine bans. But we wanted to focus on one claim in particular: That Evers "would even allow the government to use red-flag laws to confiscate your firearms without due process." Red flag laws, sometimes referred to as extreme risk protection orders, are in place in 19 states and Washington, D.C. These laws allow the government to temporarily take away guns of people who show evidence of having the potential to harm themselves or others. But does Evers support such a law? And would it, as the NRA claims, allow guns to be "confiscated" without due process? Let’s take a look. More about red flag laws In July, President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which includes monetary incentives for states to pass red flag laws. Such laws provide a mechanism to take guns from people exhibiting dangerous behavior before they harm themselves or others, as we noted in a 2019 item. The first such law was passed in Connecticut in 1990, but the second didn’t appear until Indiana’s in 2005. Many states enacted such laws after mass shootings at schools across the country. For example, in 2018, 14 states enacted them after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17. Although the process varies from state to state, the laws typically allow someone (usually a law enforcement officer or close family member) to petition a judge to temporarily take away someone’s firearms because of a potential threat they may present to themselves or others. But some states allow for doctors, co-workers or school officials to petition as well. Evers clearly supports such laws. In 2019, he called a special session of the Legislature to try to force Republicans to take up such a measure for Wisconsin. But GOP lawmakers gaveled in and out of the session without any action. For his part, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels has been against such laws. "People are entitled to due process," Michels said in a July 18 interview on the Vicki McKenna show. "You just can’t have someone make a complaint against you and your … Second Amendment right be taken away." Featured Fact-check Tim Michels stated on October 24, 2022 in News conference Tony Evers “wants to let out between 9,000 and 10,000 more” Wisconsin prisoners By Madeline Heim • November 4, 2022 Digging into the NRA claim When asked for backup for the claim, an NRA spokesperson said that red flag laws are issued ex-parte, meaning that a gun owner would have little to no notice if their gun was potentially being taken away. Hence, the part of the claim that a gun would be taken "without due process." This reminded us of a similar claim Assembly Speaker Robin Vos made in 2019 in response to Evers’ move to force a vote on introducing red flag laws in Wisconsin. We rated Mostly False a Vos claim that "red flag laws" allow gun seizure without a judge’s involvement: "They take it away first. Then you have to get permission from a judge to do it." In that item, we noted: These (red flag) orders are temporary and last from two to 21 days depending on the state, according to an issue brief put together by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Council. Gun owners then have a chance to make their cases at a hearing before a judge decides on a final order. That order commonly lasts for a year. So, the NRA’s description of this as "confiscation" is over the top, in that the statement can be understood as one never gets guns back. What’s more, it ignores just what Evers was advocating. Back to our 2019 item: Evers’ proposed red flag law for Wisconsin requires a hearing within 14 days of the preliminary order, and makes a final order valid for a year. It says guns should be seized if the judge finds "reasonable grounds that the respondent is substantially likely" to harm themselves or others. Requests can be made to extend the final order or end it early. State law already requires guns be surrendered as a result of other judicial findings, such as mental health commitments and restraining orders, according to the Legislative Council. Finally: The Wisconsin proposal — contrary to Vos’ description — doesn’t allow any guns to be seized without a judicial order. So, under the proposal Evers backed, a judge was involved from the beginning. And, as the item noted, such laws in other states have been upheld as constitutional on both Second Amendment and due process grounds. That includes a ruling upholding the Florida law in September 2019. The NRA has a point in that the gun owner is not involved from the beginning, but the way it states the claim goes too far — especially given the fact other such laws have been upheld. Our ruling The NRA claimed that Evers would, "use red-flag laws to confiscate Wisconsinite firearms without due process." Like Vos on an earlier claim, the NRA vastly overstates the way red-flag laws work, suggesting there is no judicial process at all. In truth, the proposal backed by Evers had a judge involved from the start, unlike in some other states. The NRA also used over-the-top language in describing a temporary seizure through a clear judicial process as "confiscation." The NRA has a point that the gun owner is not necessarily involved in the initial hearing, but that alone — as other courts have held — does not mean it violates due process. Our definition for Mostly False is "the statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression." That’s what we rate this item.
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Rep. Tim Ryan “wanted to decriminalize fentanyl. J.D. Vance and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan have accused each other of failing to address Ohio’s opioid crisis throughout their U.S. Senate campaign in that state. In a TV ad, Ryan portrayed Vance’s now-shuttered nonprofit as doing little to fight opioid addiction. Vance counterpunched by suggesting Ryan’s aggression on fentanyl is new. "Ryan wanted to decriminalize fentanyl," Vance tweeted "Now he wants it declared a weapon of mass destruction. The only difference is that three years ago he was trying to scam a different group of voters than he is today." There is no evidence Ryan wants to decriminalize fentanyl. When we asked the Vance campaign for evidence, it cited a pledge Ryan made when he was running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2019. But nowhere in the pledge does Ryan say he wants to decriminalize fentanyl. We tracked down that pledge and found that in response to a question about drug decriminalization Ryan said that he said the opposite. "No, I do not support the decriminalization at the federal level of all drug possession for personal use," he wrote. He also wrote that he does agree with decriminalizing possession of marijuana. Ryan’s record in Congress shows he has supported efforts to curb fentanyl. ACLU asked Democrats to pledge to reduce mass incarceration in 2019 Vance’s tweet is based on information in a Fox News story about a pledge the American Civil Liberties Union sought from presidential candidates in 2019. The story is headlined, "Vance calls Ryan's pledge to decriminalize 'all drug possession' a 'slap in the face' of victims' families." The ACLU pledge was focused on reducing the prison population. It asked whether candidates would work to reduce mass incarceration by 50%. Fox News linked to an ACLU article which listed a few strategies to reduce mass incarceration, including "ending the War on Drugs by decriminalizing all drug possession." It singled out higher-profile Democratic presidential candidates as having signed this pledge, but did not mention Ryan. We asked the ACLU to send us Ryan’s response to its questionnaire. It showed that candidates were asked whether they would commit to cutting the federal prison population by half during their presidency and if they would publish a strategy for making it happen, including at the state and local levels. Ryan said yes to both questions. Another question directly addressed the topic of drugs. The ACLU prefaced the question with a discussion of racial disparities in drug arrests and incarceration rates between the Black and white populations. It went on to say "the opioid crisis has reaffirmed the failure of criminalization," and "full decriminalization with appropriate treatment responses could address this stark racial injustice and reduce incarceration." The ACLU’s question asked, "Since drug use is better addressed as a public health issue (through treatment and other programming), will you support the decriminalization at the federal level of all drug possession for personal use?" Ryan said no. He wrote: "No, I do not support the decriminalization at the federal level of all drug possession for personal use. However, I do support the decriminalization and legalization of Marijuana." In a September 2019 interview, an ACLU official thanked Ryan for agreeing to the mass incarceration pledge and asked Ryan how he would work toward those goals. "Yeah, there is a lot we would have to do, and it ties into a lot of other areas," Ryan said "I would personally try to start with marijuana laws and getting marijuana off the schedule." (Under federal law, marijuana has the highest classification under the Controlled Substances Act, Schedule 1, which includes the most dangerous substances, such as heroin.) Ryan said Black Americans face harsher sentences than white people for marijuana crimes. He did not mention fentanyl. Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 14, 2022 in an Instagram post Video footage showing Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi hiding on Jan. 6, 2021, shows the U.S. Capitol attack “was a setup.” By Madison Czopek • October 17, 2022 When we told the Vance campaign about Ryan’s response in the questionnaire, the campaign said Ryan’s pledge to free half of the U.S. prison population would include offenders in prison for fentanyl trafficking. One 14-second clip shared on Twitter by RNC Research forwarded to us by the Vance campaign shows Ryan being asked about the pledge. Ryan said, "I don’t know if it’s by 50% or not, but we want to get all the nonviolent criminals out." Ryan’s campaign pointed to multiple bills he co-sponsored that address fentanyl trafficking and addiction: Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act of 2015, which would lower the drug quantity thresholds that trigger a mandatory minimum prison term for a defendant who manufactures fentanyl, distributes it or possesses it with intent to distribute. STOP OD Act of 2017, which includes grants to prevent abuse of opioids. Interdict Act, which requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection to increase the number of chemical screening devices to find fentanyl. President Donald Trump signed this into law in 2018. Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act 2.0 of 2018, which reauthorizes programs for drug prevention and treatment and imposes limits on opioid prescriptions. In June, Ryan introduced a resolution urging President Joe Biden and the Department of Homeland Security to designate illicit fentanyl and analogues as a weapon of mass destruction. Drug abuse is a huge issue in Ohio. In 2007, unintentional drug poisoning became the leading cause of injury death in Ohio, surpassing motor vehicle crashes for the first time on record, according to the state health department. This trend continued through 2020. Fentanyl was involved in 81% of overdose deaths in 2020 in Ohio, often in combination with other drugs. Our ruling Vance said Ryan "wanted to decriminalize fentanyl." Vance is referring to a pledge to reduce mass incarceration that Ryan signed during his 2019 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Ryan doesn’t say anything about legalizing fentanyl. Ryan actually says the opposite. In response to a question about his willingness to decriminalize all drug possession, Ryan wrote, "No, I do not support the decriminalization at the federal level of all drug possession for personal use." Ryan mentioned only marijuana as the drug he would decriminalize. Ryan has supported legislation that aims to reduce the flow of fentanyl, both before and after his presidential bid. We rate Vance’s statement Pants on Fire! PolitiFact researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this fact-check. RELATED: GOP Senate hopeful JD Vance paid political adviser to run nonprofit that did little to fight opioids RELATED: Fact-checking J.D. Vance and Tim Ryan in Ohio Senate debate RELATED: Tim Ryan on the Truth-O-Meter RELATED: J.D. Vance on the Truth-O-Met
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Pennsylvania drop boxes were “pre-loaded” with ballots When election officials in Centre County, Pennsylvania, first opened ballot drop boxes to prepare them to collect ballots for the 2022 midterm election, they discovered a small collection of ballots already inside three of the boxes. The Gateway Pundit, a conservative website known to spread misinformation, reported on those ballots as if they were indicative of fraud or election tampering, fueling a social media narrative. "BREAKING: Ballots discovered ‘pre-loaded’ inside drop box in Pennsylvania … Two other reportedly also had ‘pre-loaded’ ballots inside the boxes," read The Gateway Pundit headline. An Instagram user echoed the claim. "Nothing says free and fair elections like preloaded (drop boxes)," said the caption on the Oct. 27 post that shared a screenshot of The Gateway Pundit’s headline. The Instagram post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Although the ballots found in the drop boxes were unexpected and out of the ordinary, they are not evidence of fraud. The voters who put their ballots in too early simply didn’t follow directions, a county elections official said. On Oct. 25, election officials in Centre County opened the ballot drop boxes in preparation for the 2022 midterm election, said Centre County Elections Director Beth Lechman. A video shared by The Gateway Pundit shows election officials unlocking a drop box. Lechman explained that the county elections office gave keys to two officials so they could open the drop boxes and prepare them for use in the 2022 midterm election. A sheriff’s deputy accompanied the officials, she said. "They were opening the drop boxes to put the sacks in and to remove the defeater bar that keeps voters from placing ballots into the boxes," Lechman said. "When they opened it, they found 10 legitimate ballots." Lechman emphasized that the ballots were not fraudulent. "These are voters that have requested ballots," she said. "I have their applications." How did ballots get into the box early, before the official window of time when the drop boxes are allowed to be used? Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 18, 2022 in a post Connecticut ballot initiative on early voting would "remove the requirement of a certified seal from certain ballots." By Andy Nguyen • October 27, 2022 After initially finding 10 ballots — and encountering a similar situation at two other ballot drop boxes — Lechman said officials discovered a defect in the ballot boxes that allowed voters to insert their ballots when the deposit slots on the drop boxes were closed and locked. The issue is being corrected, she said. "Excitement, interest, and participation in the 2022 General Election is through the roof," Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe said. "However, we had a handful of voters who were a bit too eager and prematurely deposited their voted mail-in or absentee ballot into our drop boxes. We will identify ways to avoid this for future elections." Lechman also said the ballots were secure. Voters could put ballots into the box, but couldn’t get them out. Because the drop boxes were not officially open when these ballots were dropped off, Lechman said the county is still working on a plan for how it will determine whether the ballots can be counted. Lechman said ballot drop boxes open a few weeks ahead of Election Day on a date determined based on the county’s election plan. Staff availability also plays a role, since the county empties its eight drop boxes once a day until the drop boxes close at 9 a.m. on Nov. 7. This year, the drop boxes opened Oct. 25 for the midterm election — a week later than in past elections, Lechman said. She said election officials believe the delay could have led to the confusion and the too-early ballots. Centre County’s ballot drop boxes are under 24-hour surveillance. "Centre County takes elections very seriously and is trying to create a secure and transparent environment for voters to cast their ballots," Lechman said. Our ruling An Instagram user shared a headline from The Gateway Pundit that claimed ballots were "discovered ‘pre-loaded’" inside drop boxes in Pennsylvania. A small number of eligible voters successfully inserted their ballots into a few of Centre County’s ballot drop boxes before the window of time when the boxes were officially opened. That was possible because of a defect that is now being corrected. Although the ballots found in the drop boxes were unexpected, they are not evidence of fraud. We rate this claim Half True. RELATED: Marco Rubio said someone could blow up a ballot drop box, ignoring safe track record RELATED: The faulty premise of the ‘2,000 mules’ trailer about voting by mail in the 2020 electi
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Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs “sent 6,000 wrong ballots to Republicans. As the midterm election quickly approaches, many social media users are pointing to election mistakes as misguided examples of fraud. A caption on an Oct. 23 Instagram post declared that Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is also the Democratic candidate for governor, "sent 6,000 wrong ballots to Republicans." "Vote for Kari Lake, Blake Masters if you want to have vote integrity," the caption also said. The post also included a screenshot of an article about Hobbs from the Gateway Pundit, a conservative news outlet. Hobbs will face Lake, a Trump-endorsed candidate and former Phoenix television news anchor, in the Nov. 8 election. The Trump-endorsed Masters is Arizona’s Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Democrat Mark Kelly. The Instagram post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) The post misconstrues key facts: some voters in Arizona did receive federal-only ballots that included no state and local candidates, but it was far less than 6,000. Hobbs’ office didn’t send the ballots, county officials did; and GOP voters represented just 20% of voters who received the federal-only ballots. An Arizona secretary of state’s office spokesperson told PolitiFact that up to 6,000 voters in Arizona were potentially misclassified as federal-only voters — meaning that their ballots would not include state and local candidates. In Arizona, federal-only ballots are for people who have not registered to vote in state elections. Of that number, about 1,000 people were sent the federal-only mail-in ballots. Several news organizations reported the error. The mistake happened because of a database system error, said C. Murphy Hebert, communications director for the Arizona secretary of state’s office. The secretary of state’s voter database works in conjunction with a database from the state’s Motor Vehicles Department. If a person registers to vote online, the voter registration database checks with the motor vehicle department database to confirm whether the person has a state ID or driver’s license. Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 8, 2022 in a Facebook post There’s “evidence of a massive transfer of completed, curated ballots” that are fraudulent in the 2022 election. By Ciara O'Rourke • October 11, 2022 In some cases, Hebert said, the voters had additional motor vehicle records, such as car titles. But those additional records do not include proof of citizenship. To receive a full ballot with state and local candidates, Arizona voters must have proved their U.S. citizenship, with documents such as a birth certificate. The additional motor vehicle records that lacked proof of citizenship were mistakenly transferred to the secretary of state’s database. So, those voters received federal-only ballots. "Once we identified the issue, we were able to immediately isolate it to 6,000 potential records that could have been affected," Hebert said. "The counties went back and double-checked all of those records and found that less than 1,300 of voters were actually sent federal ballots to voters who qualified for full ballots." And despite the claim, it wasn’t only Republicans who received the federal-only ballots. About 20% of those who received them were Republicans, 37% were Democrats and the remainder were independent and libertarian, according to a tweet from Hobbs. Arizona counties have already begun correcting the problem, Hebert said. "The counties have done outreach to each of the affected voters, and each of those affected voters will be sent correct ballots. Or, if they’ve already mailed their ballot back, those ballots will be isolated and set aside while the counties try to reach the voter so that they can be given a full ballot," Hebert said. If voters confirm that they want full ballots, their federal ballots will be canceled, Hebert added. Our ruling An Instagram post claimed Hobbs "sent 6,000 wrong ballots to Republicans." That’s inaccurate. 1,000 voters in Arizona mistakenly received mail-in ballots that included only federal candidates, not state and local candidates. County officials sent the ballots, not Hobbs’ office. And about 20% of voters who received the federal-only ballots were Republicans. We rate this claim False
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McDonald's uses potatoes sprayed with a highly toxic pesticide called Monitor A video shared on Instagram claims McDonald’s french fries contain hidden dangers beyond expanding a person’s waistline. The video features a split screen with one portion containing text that says, "why you should never eat McDonald’s french fries," another with footage of people eating food from the chain and a third of a man warning about the toxic dangers of the potatoes used by the company. The man in the video, food writer Michael Pollan, said the potatoes McDonald’s buys for their fries are treated with a pesticide called Monitor to kill insects that can cause unsightly blemishes to appear on spuds. Pollan said Monitor is such a toxic pesticide that farmers won’t step foot on their fields for five days after spraying it on their plants. "When they harvest these potatoes they have to put them in these atmosphere-controlled sheds, the size of a football stadium because they’re not edible for six weeks," he said. "They have to off-gas all the chemicals in them." The footage of Pollan came from a talk he gave in 2013 to the Royal Society of Arts in London, several years after the U.S. stopped using the pesticide. The Instagram post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.) Monitor was a pesticide produced by Bayer AG and the trade name for methamidophos. Commercial farmers primarily used it for pest control on cotton, potato and tomato crops. Bayer requested the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cancel its product registration of Monitor in 2009, and the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention said all use ended that September. By the time Pollan gave his talk in 2013, the pesticide hadn’t been used for four years. McDonald’s didn’t immediately return PolitiFact’s request for comment, but the company did produce a video in 2014 showing how the potatoes the company uses are grown and processed. Featured Fact-check Facebook posts stated on October 13, 2022 in a post on Facebook If a sealed bag of raw poultry appears “puffy,” it means the protein is not safe to consume. By Michael Majchrowicz • October 14, 2022 Nineteen different ingredients, including potatoes, go into making a McDonald’s french fry, none of which includes any amount of pesticide. The EPA established safety limits requiring any new or existing pesticides used on fruits and vegetables to have a "reasonable certainty of no harm" to children and adults. The agency said some trace amounts of pesticide are occasionally detected on fruits and vegetables, but not at unsafe levels. Pollan’s other claim about farmers being unable to step on a field after spraying pesticide is true, but it’s a standard safety practice. Commercial farms are required to observe a "restricted-entry interval" after using a pesticide, which prohibits anyone from entering a treated area. The restricted-entry interval depends on the pesticide that was used and can last anywhere from 12 hours up to several days. Farms that used Monitor on potato crops had to wait four days after spraying. Although harvested potatoes are stored in large, temperature-controlled sheds before being sent to consumers, it’s not because it needs to off-gas any pesticide residue, as Pollan claims. It’s to preserve the potato for as long as possible by preventing shrinkage and keeping the spud from sprouting. This storage method also helps stop any potential diseases from spreading. Our ruling An Instagram post shared footage of Pollan saying potatoes used to make McDonald’s french fries are sprayed with a highly toxic pesticide called Monitor. However, by the time Pollan gave his talk in 2013, the Monitor hadn’t been used as a pesticide for several years after the EPA canceled authorization for all of its uses at the request of its manufacturer. We rate this claim False
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