PolitiFact Georgia: Fact-checkers focus on Georgia’s U.S. Senate race

This article was edited for length. To see a complete version and its sources go to www.politifact.com/georgia/.


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How does PolitiFact Georgia’s Truth-O-Meter work?

Our goal is to help you find the truth in American politics. Reporters from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution fact-check statements by local, state and national political leaders, including lobbyists and interest groups. We then rate them on the AJC Truth-O-Meter.

To fact-check a claim, reporters first contact the speaker to verify the statement. Next, the research begins. Reporters consult a variety of sources, including industry and academic experts. This research can take hours or a few days or even longer, depending on the claim. Reporters then compile the research into story form and include a recommended Truth-O-Meter ruling.

The fact check then moves on to a panel of veteran editors who debate the statement and the reporter’s recommended Truth-O-Meter ruling. The panel votes on a final ruling; majority prevails.

It’s crunch time for the candidates.

The November election is less than two months away.

Nationally, the big battle is for control of the U.S.Senate. And that’s put the spotlight on Georgia, where Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue are in a closely watched and heavily funded race to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

That contest and the race for governor between incumbent Republican Nathan Deal and Democrat Jason Carter are drawing most of the attention and providing plenty of fodder for the PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter.

Last week, our fact checkers looked a claim that a company run by David Perdue was found to have discriminated against female managers. We also truth-tested a radio spot from Ending Spending Action Fund, which was based on news accounts that a convicted felon co-hosted a fundraiser for Nunn.

On the national political scene, we checked a claim that Hispanics make up less than 10 percent of the electorate in Georgia and eight other states with competitive U.S. Senate races. In addition, we looked into a claim about beer breweries.

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Abbreviated versions of our fact checks are below.

Full versions can be found at www.politifact.com/georgia/

“EMILYs List on Monday, September 1, 2014 in a television attack ad

“Federal investigators found a company that (David Perdue) ran discriminated against women — paid them less than men for the same work.”

The attack ad against David Perdue, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, is based on a pay discrimination lawsuit filed by female managers at Dollar General while Perdue was CEO of the discount retailer.

The 2006 lawsuit, eventually expanded to cover thousands of female store managers, accused the chain of paying male managers more than females performing the same job, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

Perdue, who was Dollar General CEO from April 2003 to July 2007, was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Dollar General did not acknowledge any liability or wrongdoing. The lawsuit was settled in 2012 — after Perdue left the company — for $18.75 million.

The settlement agreement promised some policy changes, something legal experts say is fairly routine.

The ad focuses on letter from an area director for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Jackson, Miss. to a complaining female manager.

The February 2008 letter states that “available evidence establishes reasonable cause to believe” that female store managers in the district where the woman worked “were discriminated against” in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Equal Pay Act.

The statement is accurate on its face. But the reader needs to understand that the claims were never proven in court, and a settlement was reached without any admission of wrongdoing..

We rated the ad by EMILY’s List as Mostly True.

Ending Spending Action Fund in a radio attack ad.

Michelle Nunn has acknowledged allowing a convicted felon who is well known for his radical anti-American statements to hold a fundraiser for her.

This ad grows out of an embarrassing situation experienced earlier this summer by Michelle Nunn, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate.

A fundraiser for Nunn was held July 8 in Washington, D.C., with her father, former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, as a special guest.

Virtual Murrell was one of the co-hosts of the event, giving $2,600 to Nunn’s campaign for the honor. Two days after the fundraiser, the conservative National Review broke the story that Murrell, now a political consultant, had pleaded guilty in 1995 to accepting a bribe while working as an Oakland (Calif.) City councilman’s aide. He was sentenced to a year in prison.

Nunn has said that she didn’t know Murrell’s background and would return any money he gave or raised.

Ending Spending made that the focus of the ad, simulating a man-on-the street interview with a potential female voter.

The Super PAC could offer no evidence that Nunn was aware of Murrell’s history, though she did admit that he had co-sponsored the event.

We rated Ending Spending’s ad claim as Mostly True.

Chuck Todd on Sunday, September 7th, 2014 in a comment on “Meet the Press.”

Eight out of the nine states with competitive Senate races, Hispanics make up less than 10 percent of the electorate.”

Chuck Todd, new host of Sunday’s Meet the Press, said Hispanics make up less than 10 percent of the electorate in eight of nine states with competitive U.S. Senate races.

The Cook Political Report rates nine races as toss-ups, including Georgia. These are states where either party has a chance of winning. Other pundits have Georgia “leaning Republican.”

The Cook Report also counts three more races as competitive but leaning toward one party. On the high end, CNN considers 12 races competitive, dividing them into six seats “up for grabs” and six with “tilts” towards a party.

Though there’s some deviation in the number of competitive states, nine seems like a pretty safe bet, and the number reported by a good portion of news sources.

As for the share of Hispanic voting population, Todd is right on the money. Colorado is the only one of 12 most competitive states with a Hispanic voting population above 10 percent.

We rated Todd’s claim True.

Paul Ryan in a speech on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

“Miller Brewing is not a U.S. company any more. Neither is Anheuser-Busch.”

In an appearance before the Rotary Club of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Press Club, U.S. Ryan was asked if inversions should be banned. This is the practice of U.S.-based companies buying foreign firms and then relocating their own headquarters to another country to enjoy lower taxes.

Ryan said that the U.S. tax code needed reform and that American-based companies pay far more in taxes than their counterparts in other countries.

He also popped open a claim involving one of Brewtown’s icons.

“Miller is not a U.S. company any more. Neither is Anheuser-Busch,” he said. “Think of what this does to our communities. The royalties, the headquarters and all that.”

Ryan said the parent companies of Miller and Anheuser-Busch are located overseas.

That’s true. They are part of a long-standing and rapid world-wide consolidation of the major breweries.

We rated Ryan’s statement True.

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