American Crossroads: "The Clintons' foundation took millions from foreign governments" including United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
A group founded by Karl Rove launched one of the first salvos of the 2016 presidential election cycle with a Web video attacking presumed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. American Crossroads released a video Feb. 23 that features audio of a speech from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat from the party’s progressive wing, warning that "powerful interests have tried to capture Washington and rig the system in their favor." The video shows photos of Clinton meeting with various foreign delegates and leaders. Text on the screen alleges that "the Clintons' foundation took millions from foreign governments" including "up ...>> More
Mike Lee: The FCC’s net neutrality policy includes what is "essentially a massive tax increase." <div> </div>
Does net neutrality mean a big tax increase? The Federal Communications Commission just approved a proposal reclassifying Internet service as a telecommunications utility -- claiming that it will preserve the concept of net neutrality. While proponents of the policy shift argue that the changes won’t spur additional fees or taxes, opponents argue the opposite. "This is essentially a massive tax increase on the middle class being passed in the dead of night without the American public really being made aware of what is going on," Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, wrote in an email through the anti-FCC regulation group >> More
Eric Holder: Last year, "we saw the first reduction in the federal prison population in 32 years."
Federal prisons recently hit a notable benchmark, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this week. In remarks at the National Press Club on Feb. 17, 2015, Holder made the case for sentencing reform and touted the Smart on Crime initiative on his watch. That program discourages federal prosecutors from pursuing harsh minimum sentences for low-level, non-violent drug criminals. "This newly unveiled data shows we can confront over-incarceration at the same time that we continue to promote public safety," he said. "Already, in fiscal year 2014, we saw the first reduction in the federal prison population ...>> More
Robert McDonald: "Nine hundred people have been fired since I became secretary (of Veterans Affairs). We’ve got 60 people that we fired who have manipulated wait times."
When Robert McDonald took over as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs in July 2014, the department was mired in a scandal over veterans’ health care, involving a whistleblower’s claims that VA employees had manipulated wait-time data. The controversy led to the ouster of McDonald’s predecessor, Eric Shinseki. So what has McDonald done to clean up the embattled department since he arrived? He offered some details during a Feb. 15 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. "We're making fundamental changes in the department in terms of leadership. We have held accountable about 900 employees who are no longer with ...>> More
Facebook posts: Say George Washington said that "when government takes away citizens’ right to bear arms it becomes citizens’ duty to take away government’s right to govern."
Would George Washington have been an ally to modern-day gun-rights groups? A social-media meme suggests that he would have. Around the time of Washington’s 282nd birthday, a reader sent us the meme, which includes a painting of Washington and a quote purportedly written or uttered by the nation’s first president: "When government takes away citizens’ right to bear arms it becomes citizens’ duty to take away government’s right to govern." But are those really Washington’s words? We contacted Edward Lengel, editor in chief of the Papers of George Washington project at the University of Virginia. He said "there is no ...>> More
In the latest of a series of perceived gaffes that have punctuated his tenure as vice president, Joe Biden set eyerolls rolling when he said he had an extensive friendship with the Somali community in his hometown of Wilmington, Del. At a White House summit on violent extremism on Feb. 17, 2015, Biden said, "Somalis have made my city of Wilmington, Del. (their home) on a smaller scale. There is a very identifiable Somali community. I might add if you come to the train station with me you’ll notice I have great relationships with them because there’s an ...>> More
Adam Kinzinger: The current debate over authorizing military action against the Islamic State "would be the first time Congress would place limits on the commander-in-chief's ability to be commander-in-chief."
Months after the Islamic State emerged as a threat in the Middle East, President Barack Obama has asked Congress for authorization to use military force against the radical Islamist group. An administration proposal now before Congress would limit the use of force to three years. The legislation also says it is not authorizing the use of "armed forces in enduring offensive ground operations." In something of an odd-bedfellows pairing, some hawkish Republicans prefer giving the president even wider leeway to go after the Islamic State, sometimes called ISIS or ISIL. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is among those who say Congress ...>> More
Peter DeFazio: "Monarch butterflies are becoming extinct" because of increased use of crops genetically modified to withstand pesticides.
Monarch butterflies are an unexpected victim of the widespread adoption of genetically modified crops, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said last week. A genetically modified organism has had its DNA altered in a way that does not occur in nature. One purpose is to increase the plants’ tolerance to pesticides and herbicides. Opponents of GMOs, as they are called, believe they pose health risks, though there’s no generally accepted science that says GMO products are harmful to health. Environmental impacts, however, are the focus of DeFazio’s claim. DeFazio is an advocate for policies that would ...>> More
Barack Obama: "Nearly one in five women in America has been a victim of rape or attempted rape."
On the occasion of this year’s Grammy Awards, President Barack Obama released a public-service announcement targeting sexual violence, particularly against women and girls. In his videotaped statement, Obama mentioned a statistic about the prevalence of rape -- with a frequency that was startling enough to provoke several PolitiFact readers to ask us to check it out. "Right now," Obama said, "nearly one in five women in America has been a victim of rape or attempted rape." Is that statistic correct? We took a closer look. We’ll start by noting that this is a different statistic than one that ...>> More
Roy Moore: Alabamians "haven’t changed their opinion" on same-sex marriage since voting to ban it in 2006.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo challenged Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore to defend a decision that will allow local courts to ignore a federal judge’s ruling striking down the state’s anti-gay marriage law. "Times have changed as they did with slavery," Cuomo said Feb. 12 on New Day. "The population no longer feels the same way. And even in your state, people no longer feel the same way." Moore held firm that marriage was defined as between a man and a woman, and said, "81 percent as recently as 2006 said it was the definition. They ...>> More
Rick Perry: "Obama has chosen to deny the vicious anti-Semitic motivation of the attack on a kosher Jewish grocery in Paris."
President Barack Obama took heat this week for seeming to imply that a recent attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris was "random" -- rather than anti-Semitic. Obama made his ire-arousing comment in a Feb. 9 interview with Vox’s Matthew Yglesias. Yglesias asked if Obama thought the media tended to overstate the threat of Islamic terrorism, compared with issues like climate change. As part of his response, Obama said this: "It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you've got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot ...>> More
Chain email: "Over 200 years ago, the United States had declared war on Islam, and Thomas Jefferson led the charge!"
Ask most Americans about the details of the Barbary wars, and you’re likely to get blank stares. But the obscure, early 19th century wars between the newly established United States and a group of north African powers has become evidence for a chain email that lectures about the present-day dangers of radical Islam. Here are excerpts from the chain email. "Most Americans are unaware of the fact that over 200 years ago, the United States had declared war on Islam, and Thomas Jefferson led the charge! "At the height of the 18th century, Muslim pirates were the ...>> More
The federal government may have announced a good jobs report just days earlier, but Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wasn’t impressed with the state of the American labor market. On the Feb. 8, 2015, edition of CNN’s State of the Union, host Dana Bash asked Cruz whether he would run for president. He responded: "I think we're facing enormous challenges in this country. The Obama economy has led to the lowest labor force participation since 1978. Ninety-two million Americans aren't working. Obamacare is a train wreck. We're seeing our constitutional rights under assault. And abroad the Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy ...>> More
Ted Cruz: "The Obama administration is refusing to directly arm the Kurds." <div> </div>
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said that arming the Iraqi Kurds is key in the fight against the Islamic State -- but the United States isn’t doing enough in that regard. On NBC’s Meet the Press Feb. 8, Secretary of State John Kerry defended the United States’ current policy regarding the Kurds -- an ethnic group partially located in northern Iraq, in and around cities under Islamic State control. "We have supplied (the Kurds) with enormous amount of ammunition, weapons, other things. And others are supplying them," he said. Cruz characterized the situation differently. "What makes no sense whatsoever is the Obama ...>> More
During a major policy address intended to increase his profile as a 2016 presidential hopeful, former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush criticized the economic performance of President Barack Obama. "Six years after the recession ended, median incomes are down, households are, on average, poorer, and millions of people have given up looking for work altogether," Bush told the Detroit Economic Club on Feb. 4, 2015. We’ve already fact checked a similar claim about median incomes being down ( we rated it True), but we wondered whether Bush is correct that "millions of people have given up looking for ...>> More
Greg Abbott: Under Common Core standards, it takes "more than a minute" to teach a student "how to add nine plus six."
Under Common Core, it takes far too long for a teacher to show a student how to do simple addition, said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. In 2013, the Texas Legislature passed a law prohibiting school districts from using Common Core in their lesson plans. On Fox News Sunday, Abbott argued that Common Core -- the proposed set of education standards that has become a political football -- is a bad idea. He directed viewers toward some evidence. "I hope all your viewers will go to Google and plug in ‘nine plus six Common Core,’ " he said, telling viewers to ...>> More
Barack Obama: "The reason we even have colleges is that at some point there were politicians who said, ‘You know what? We should start colleges.’ "
President Barack Obama recently went around the mainstream media and offered sit-down interviews to a trio of YouTube celebrities -- Bethany Mota, GloZell Green and Hank Green. The interviews were live-streamed on Jan. 22, 2015. In the interview, Mota -- a California teen who makes "videos about hair, makeup, fashion, DIY projects, and basically anything that I love" -- asked Obama, "Why should the younger generation be interested in politics, and why should it matter to them?" Here’s how Obama answered: "Well, basically, politics is just -- how do we organize ourselves as a society? How do we make ...>> More
Super Bowl XLIX had everything a fan could hope for (unless you’re from Seattle). A hectic, nail-biting finish. Amazing plays. Dancing sharks. But despite the genuine on-field fireworks, it was once again a commercial — not the game itself — that had many people talking. And not necessarily for good reasons. A 45-second commercial by insurance company Nationwide was widely panned by professionals and amatuer Twitter critics for its haphazard attempt to tug at the heart strings by imagining the long-term consequences of a child’s accidental death. In ...>> More