Attack ad uses political donations without context
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — A new attack ad, airing on TV9, attempts to use Sen. Grassley’s more than 50 years of political experience against him by linking him to dwindling family farms.
Source: Mike Franken for Iowa
According to the documents of the Federal Election Commission, Mike Franken for Iowa is Admiral Mike Franken (D) campaigning for the United States Senate. The Democrat is running against Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) to become Iowa’s representative to the United States Senate. His new attack ad features a retired admiral, who grew up on a family farm. The ad claims that Senator Grassley destroyed family farms.
Claim #1: “But, Washington stacked the game against us. Since Chuck Grassley took office, Iowa has lost half of our farms”
Analysis: Franken’s campaign used United States Department of Agriculture census figures from 1959, when Chuck Grassley represented Butler County in Iowa House of Representatives.
According to the USDA, there were 174,708 farms. The latest federal agency census in 2017 stated that there were 86,104 farms, representing a decrease of approximately 50.7%.
Iowa experienced a greater decline in the number of farms before Chuck Grassley traveled to Washington DC in 1975 to serve in the House of Representatives. The number of farms in Iowa continued to decline until it leveled off in 1995.
At the national level, the number of farms fell sharply until the 1970s according to the united states department of agriculture. The number of farms in the United States fell sharply but leveled off in 1974.
The campaign gave no specific examples of laws or policies that have been passed that have led to a decrease in the number of farms.
Conclusion: The number of farms has been cut in half since Senator Chuck Grassley took office as State Representative. This claim gets a A.
Claim #2: “Chuck took over a million dollars from Big Ag and he’s passing laws to help them get the little guy out,”
Analysis: The campaign uses data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that tracks campaign spending. It specifically examines donations since 1989when Senator Grassley was halfway through his second term.
Senator Grassley, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, has raised $1,597,450 from agribusiness-related political action committees (PACs) since 1989. The amount equates to about 11% of all PAC donations on the basis of the figures of Center for Responsive Policy.
The amount of money from these groups is smaller if you decrease the range Franken’s campaign uses to advertise.
For example, agri-food CAPs donated $148,000 from 2021 to 2022. The largest donations from these groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, were $10,000 from Altria Group, Hy-Vee, California Dairies Inc, Land O’Lakes, National Corn Growers Association and Deere & Co.
The Franken campaign said the laws it specifically refers to in the ad are Chuck Grassley’s votes to join the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA). in 1993 and changes to federal taxes under former President Donald Trump in 2017. The ad does not cite any laws in the ad.
NAFTA came into effect in 1994 when the number of farms in the United States remained relatively stable. Organizations like the National maize producers Association and public citizen had differing opinions on the effects of NAFTA.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which supporters call the Trump Tax Cuts, made structural changes to the federal tax code to Farmers. A USDA study published in 2018 found that the taxes of an overwhelming number of farmers had decreased compared to the new tax law.
The study found that medium-sized farms, which it considers farms between $350,000 and $999,999 in gross farm income, would receive the biggest drop in their income tax rate under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Conclusion: Senator Chuck Grassley has received over $1 million in political donations. However, the ad omits it by using 33 years of political finance data while using opinion pieces about laws never mentioned in the ad. This is why this claim gets a VS.
To claim: “I don’t take their money”
Analysis: Admiral Mike Franken has promised not to accept political donations from any corporation or Super PACs, which are political action committees the FEC said can collect unlimited amounts and spend them independent of campaigns.
It’s become a trend in Democratic politics, which our i9 fact checker has verified in previous election cycles.
FEC data shows that Franken’s campaign took money from leadership PACs, like Common Ground PAC. Documents from the FEC show that the PAC is associated with Senator Tim Kaine (VA-D). FEC data shows companies including Honeywell, BAE SystemsToyota, Capital One and FedEx have all donated to Common Ground PAC this election cycle.
So while Franken does not directly take money from companies. It receives money from Leadership PACs, which receive political donations from corporations.
Conclusion: There is no way to tell if the dollars donated by leadership PACs come from individuals, companies, or Super PACs. However, the complex nuances of political finance make this assertion obscure enough to gain a B.
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