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Phillips Calls for New “Truth in Political Advertising” Effort, Challenges False Ads
Phillips offers mechanism to protect voters in similar way to how we protect consumers
Congressman Erik Paulsen and the special-interest groups supporting his campaign are spending at least $8 million on a coordinated disinformation campaign targeting voters in Minnesota’s 3rd District. Paulsen for Congress, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), and the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) have all been called out by local news organizations for spreading false and misleading claims. Today, Politifact confirmed that the ads are distorted, out of context, and mostly false. Still, Paulsen for Congress, NRCC and CLF continue to fill the airwaves with little regard for the truth.
In response, Dean Phillips’s campaign for Congress today formally challenged the false NRCC and CLF ads, issued a letter to Congressman Paulsen correcting his false claims so that he can correct his ads accordingly, and offered a new idea to protect voters from the kind of lies and political distortions that are pervasive on the airwaves right now.
Because the Supreme Court has determined that First Amendment protections of free speech extend to political speech regardless of whether it is true or not, Phillips announced his proposal to establish a national Truth in Political Advertising program, whereby political campaigns could voluntarily submit advertisements to an independent, nonpartisan fact-checking organization for verification of claims made. If verified, the advertisement would receive a Truth in Political Advertising Seal of Approval, which could be displayed in the ad.
“Consumers are rightly protected from false and misleading advertising by the Federal Trade Commission,” said Phillips, “and yet the Federal Election Commission cannot offer that same protection to voters. That means we as a country have determined that Pepsi cannot say whatever it wants about Coke, but politicians like Congressman Erik Paulsen can and do lie to voters without recourse. It’s a symptom of the disease of corruption and special-interest money in politics, and it has to change.”
Phillips took decisive action to combat the lies and distortions on the airwaves right now by —
Sending a letter to Congressman Paulsen correcting the false claims made in his ads;
Sending a letter to local television stations asking for false CLF and NRCC ads to be taken down; and
Sending a letter to the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Election Commission providing evidence of a well-organized campaign of misinformation in the 3rd District.
Copies of those letters are attached to this release.
“When independent fact-checkers find a claim to be not just misleading but plain false, the organization or candidate airing those claims has a civic duty to correct them,” said Phillips. “Unfortunately, not only are Congressman Paulsen and the special interest groups supporting his campaign not correcting their claims — they’re doubling down on them. They do so because they know their ads will be seen much more frequently than the fact-checks of those ads, and because they know there is no recourse for lying to voters. We deserve better.”
Phillips is capturing attention from around the country for running a positive, people-powered campaign built on contributions from more than 64,000 individuals — and zero PACs, special interests, or members of Congress. In April, Phillips challenged Congressman Paulsen to join him in signing the Minnesota Way Pledge, a mutual pledge to eliminate special-interest money and self-funding and reduce or eliminate spending from outside groups on both sides. Paulsen has refused to sign, and is now the 5th-biggest taker of special-interest money in Congress — while benefiting from millions more spent on his behalf.
Learn more at www.ErikPaulsen.org.