4 Investigates Fact Check: Senate TV ads have misleading information | KOB 4

4 Investigates Fact Check: Senate TV ads have misleading information

Chris Ramirez
Updated: October 28, 2020 10:13 PM
Created: October 28, 2020 08:46 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In the final homestretch of the election season, dueling TV ads by U.S. Senate Candidates Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Republican Challenger Mark Ronchetti have turned negative and even present misleading information, according to research by the KOB 4 Investigates Fact Check Team.    

Fact checking an ad paid for by Mark Ronchetti

An ad paid for by Mark Ronchetti’s campaign states:

Ronchetti: I'm Mark Ronchetti and I approve this message. 

Announcer: Ben Ray Lujan backs a 2019 bill that gives taxpayer funded salaries to people unwilling to work. Experts calls it wrongheaded and dangerous. What do New Mexicans think?

Unidentified person: Oh that is crazy.  And he wants us to pay for that? 

Unidentified person: So he wants us to work hard and pay for those who don't want to. 

Unidentified person: Those aren't my values and those are my family's values.

Unidentified person: Guaranteed salaries for people who don't want to work?  That's a terrible idea.

Unidentified person: Ben Ray Lujan has forgotten our values. 

Unidentified person: Ben Ray is not representing us.

Overall, this ad is misleading.  When KOB 4 asked if the unidentified people appearing in that ad were given scripts to read from or if they freely made those statements on their own, Ronchetti’s team wouldn’t answer the question.  

This ad references House Resolution 109, commonly called the Green New Deal.  It’s not a bill, as the announcer states.  HR109 is a nonbinding resolution.  There is a big difference between bills and resolutions.  Bills create laws, where resolutions are declarations of opinions.  If the Green New Deal were to ever pass, it would offer nothing more than a blueprint of ideas on how the country could move away from its dependence on fossil fuels, but the government is not obligated to follow it.

According to factcheck.org and numerous national newspapers, the Green New Deal does not give “salaries to people unwilling to work.”  The resolution does call for livable wages to working families.  According to factcheck.org, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) released a draft media release that stated the Green New Deal provides “economic security to all who are unable to or unwilling to work.”  Rep. Ocasio Cortez’s office retracted the media release and corrected it to reflect what the resolution actually stated.

But the damage was already done and Republican candidates across the country, Mark Ronchetti included, are using the language of that retracted media release as a weapon to paint their Democratic opponents into a radical left corner.

Fact Checking an ad paid for by Lujan

An ad paid for my Ben Ray Lujan’s campaign states:

Announcer: Mark Ronchetti said he'll be another seat in the Senate for President Trump.  And just like Trump, Ronchetti lies and denies—denying he supports privatizing  Medicare, devastating New Mexico's seniors; denying coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, which ends healthcare for thousands of New Mexicans; denying the facts on Coronavirus, spreading false information and praising Trump's response as very good.

Voice of Ronchetti: I stand with President Trump. 

Ben Ray Lujan: I'm Ben Ray Lujan and I approve this message.

The line, “Mark Ronchetti said he'll be another seat in the Senate for President Trump" comes from a Facebook post Ronchetti created on May 21, 2020.  The full text reads, “Early voting has started! Help me defeat Ben Ray Lujan and secure another seat in the Senate for President Trump! Click below to find your nearest early voting location!”

Lujan’s ad states, “(Ronchetti) supports privatizing Medicare.”  That is misleading. The ad cites a political forum Ronchetti participated in.  Upon review of Ronchetti’s recorded statements, KOB 4 determined he did not say outright that he supported privatizing Medicare.

Lujan’s ad states Ronchetti would “deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.” That statement is partially misleading.  While Ronchetti is on record stating he wants to protect people with pre-existing conditions, he’s also on record stating “we need to replace Obamacare.”  It’s worth noting the Trump Administration is in a legal fight to end the Affordable Care Act, more commonly called Obamacare.  Since the Administration has not put forward a heath care plan, if the U.S. Supreme Court ends the ACA, millions of Americans would lose their health insurance plans and there would be no laws in place to protect people with pre-existing conditions.  Like President Trump, Ronchetti has stated he wants to keep protections for pre-existing conditions, but has not explained how it would be possible if the ACA is dismantled.      

Near the end of 30 second ad, Ronchetti states, “I stand with President Trump."  Lujan is trying to align Ronchetti with President Trump, but the attempt is out of context. Lujan’s ad is about healthcare, but Lujan’s campaign pulled that clip from an ad Ronchetti aired about border security.

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