i9 Fact Checker: Ad attempts to tie political donations to policy decisions

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 6:22 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Nationally, Republicans are pushing inflation as the fault of Democrats. This ad tries to flip the argument against Republicans.

Source: State Rep. Christina Bohannan (D-Iowa City) is running against Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-02) in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. Her campaign is airing an advertisement on TV9 arguing the first-term congresswoman’s policy decisions on inflation are related to donations to her political campaign.

Claim: “Prices keep going up and my opponent won’t do anything about it, maybe because she’s too beholden to the big oil and drug companies”

Analysis: It’s worth noting the text on the screen, makes a slightly different claim that “Mariannetee Miller-Meeks took over $1 Million from Washington special interests.”

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which is a nonpartisan nonprofit tracking political spending, the congresswoman has accepted donations from 538 Political Action Committees (PACs) across all different industries worth about $1,004,975.

The campaign said it is specifically using data from ideological and industry PACs from the Center for Responsive Politics since 2007, when she first ran for congress. Those numbers are more than $1 Million.

However, those donations specifically from big oil and drug companies is less than $1 Million. Rep. Marionette Miller-Meeks, according to the Center for Responsive Politics has received a total of $38,840 from individuals and Political Action Committees (PAC) related to oil and gas during this election cycle.

A TV9 analysis of the congresswoman’s FEC data, specifically her two active campaigns, shows most of those donations were $10,000 and under. Those donations from pharmaceutical companies are even smaller ranging from $500 to $3,500 from about 9 companies, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Those donations have added up during Miller-Meeks’ political career since she has run for congress multiple times before being elected in 2020. The Center for Responsive Politics said she has received $137,660 from groups and individuals associated with energy and natural resources from 2007 to 2022. She has also received $564,754 from individuals and PACs related to the health sector, which includes medical professionals as well.

Both Rep. Miller-Meeks and Rep. Bohannan have taken donations from leadership PACs, which take donations from oil and drug companies.

Although not in the advertisement, the campaign said it referring to Miller-Meek’s vote against the bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act. According to the congressional research service, the bill makes changes to the tax code, allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices for certain drugs and funds numerous climate initiatives.

Conclusion: The claim made by the narrator and the text on the screen conflict with each other, which misleads the audience. The ad also gives no evidence on how these donations influence Rep. Miller-Meeks’ policy positions. That’s why this ad gets a D.