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FactCheck.org Verifies Accuracy of DeLay Ad

by RonChusid

FactCheck.org has reviewed the ad which we reported on earlier on Tom DeLay. DeLay’s attorneys kept television stations from airing it by threatening to sue. FactCheck.org reviewed the ad in detail and found that DeLay’s attorney mischaracterized the ad and that it contains nothing false, but did not the possibility for misinterpretation. From their summary:

Two liberal groups released an ad calling on former House Republican leader Tom DeLay to resign, but Houston TV stations pulled it off the air after a lawyer for DeLay wrote a letter calling the ad “reckless, malicious and false” and threatening to sue.

DeLay’s primary complaint is that the ad refers to “one million dollars from Russian tycoons to allegedly influence his vote.” In fact, The Washington Post has reported just such an allegation. It quoted the former president of an advocacy group as saying DeLay’s former chief of staff told him that Russians contributed $1 million to the group in 1998 specifically to influence DeLay’s vote on legislation.

It is true there’s no evidence DeLay received the money personally, but it is also true that DeLay had multiple political connections to the advocacy group, and that his wife received a salary from the group’s founder.

We find that DeLay’s lawyer mischaracterized what the ad said, and that the ad contains nothing that is strictly false. The worst we can say of the ad is that its ambiguous wording could give casual viewers the impression that DeLay took $1 million directly, which isn’t the case.

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