85 Percent Of Spending From Leading Conservative Groups Went Toward Ads Labeled ‘Deceptive’ By Fact Checkers

With spending from interest groups up 1,100 percent since the last presidential campaign, the emerging fact checking industry has been busy.

Fact checkers have gotten so exasperated by all the ads, Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post recently lamented that “watching these ads is a depressing duty for The Fact Checker…. The erroneous assertions emerge … without any shame, labeled as ‘the truth’ or ‘fact.'”

And there’s a reason for all that exasperation. According to a new analysis from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, 85 percent of spending on presidential ads by the top spending conservative 501(c)(4) organizations went toward spots labeled “deceptive” by fact checkers. Third-party 501(c)(4) groups, commonly referred to as political action committees, do not have to disclose their donors.

As of June 1st, no Democratic 501(c)(4) organizations had spent any money on the presidential race.

The Annenberg analysis outlines the top four conservative interest groups funneling money into deceptive ads:

  • American Energy Alliance, which champions free market energy policies and spent an estimated $3.3 million ($3,269,000) on deceptive presidential ads.
  • Americans for Prosperity, founded by billionaire businessman and conservative activist David Koch to support lower taxes and limited government spending, spent an estimated $5 million ($5,018,000) on presidential ads containing deceptions.
  • American Future Fund, a Republican-leaning group founded by longtime Iowa political operative Nick Ryan and headed by state Senator Sandra Greiner, spent an estimated $6.4 million ($6,365,930) on deceptive presidential ads.
  • Crossroads GPS, a conservative public policy advocacy group advised by former Bush lieutenant Karl Rove and former RNC director Ed Gillespie, spent an estimated $10.3 million ($10,263,760) on deceptive presidential ads. The group is a companion organization to the super PAC American Crossroads.

A large share of those ads have been focused on energy — particularly on the solar company Solyndra. A Bloomberg analysis found that 81 percent attack ads against President Obama were related to energy in the first quarter of this year. Overall, negative ads are up 70 percent since the 2008 presidential election.

Behold the legacy of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision: A whole lot of lies and very little accountability.

Below is a video put together by documenting the extraordinary increase in deceptive ads:

11 Responses to 85 Percent Of Spending From Leading Conservative Groups Went Toward Ads Labeled ‘Deceptive’ By Fact Checkers

  1. Doug Bostrom says:

    So in connection w/Citizen’s United, does the Supreme Court think that corruption of an election doesn’t include deceiving people into making poor choices? Apparently so.

  2. Chris says:

    I’m surprised 15% was spent on ads which were accurate. Some truthful things snuck in under the radar. They’re slipping.

  3. Michelle M says:

    I hope their collective pants catch on fire.

  4. Mark Shapiro says:

    Stephen Lacey, may I suggest a correction — a very important correction?

    The American Energy Alliance does not “champion free market energy policies”. They claim to be pro market, but of course they actually champion subsidies for themselves, and for pollution without limit.

    A free marketer would pay for pollution, but we so seldom hear that that we forget what free markets actually are.

    They champion their own interests. Period.

  5. Mark Shapiro says:

    By the way, did I mention how powerful the coal, oil, and gas industries are?

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Here’s a scoop, -‘Rightwingers Lie’.

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Purely accidentally, I’d imagine.

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    What does Clarence Thomas think? The calculated insult to the memory of Thurgood Marshall has turned out even more hideous than was at first imagined.

  9. EDpeak says:

    Mark, good point, but I would broaden it to: we shoudl stop putting the word “free” in frton of “free market” since even in the (as you point out, very rare) cases where they do want to pay for the costs (or at least claim they want to) there is nothing “free” about that either – there is no freedom given to the “little guy (or little gal)” but “free” in the phrase “free market” means “corporation and the poweful are more free to act in any way they please”

    The fact that they also don’t want to pay for their pollution is merely another layer of this deeper issue…

    Progressives need to stop adopting the (misleading) language of the right-wing like stop saying “right to work” state, stop saying “free” market, “free” trade, it what it is: anti-workerrights/anti-union, or “corporate rights charter” (not “free trade”) or:

    “policies promoting corporate hegemony and control of the economy, and corporation having the ‘freedom’ to do as they please regardless of effects on the average person on the street” – not “free market” policies.

  10. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Long Dong Silver has been asleep in the saddle for many years now. Scalia has been marking his voter’s card for him.

  11. Jan Freed says:

    Fossil Fuels (Koch Bros.) create Fossil Ghouls (Heartland)which produce Fossil Fools (right wing voters) who vote for Fossil Tools (Republican congressional deniers) who bow and scrape for the fossil fuel corporations.

    And, so it goes. At least Stalin was direct in his liquidation of much of society.