FACT CHECK: Reed's First Attack Ad Rated "Mostly True"

(WETM-18) – As campaign ads start to fill television screens across the Twin Tiers, WETM 18 News and Your Local Election Headquarters are committed to making sure you, the voter, stay informed about what is true and what isn’t. We’ll be fact-checking a variety of ads this election season, and it starts now, with the first attack ad of the season.

Congressman Tom Reed released his first attack ad of the election season, so we wanted to take a look to see if the claims are true or not.

“In county government, [Martha] Robertson doubled property taxes.”

The ad cites Tompkins County Legislature minutes from 2003 to 2013 for this claim. In that time, the property tax levy in the county doubled under budgets passed by the legislature. It is worth noting that the budgets were passed by the legislature as a whole, not just by Robertson.

Because of that, we rate this claim mostly true.

“And exploded spending.”

In 2001, according to the Ithaca Journal, the total budget for Tompkins County was approximately $103 million. The budget for 2013, according to the Tompkins County website, was over $164 million. That is an increase of over 58%

Since this is the number given by the ad, we rate this claim as true.

“Robertson wants Obamacare expanded.”

Past videos have shown Robertson advocating for a single payer healthcare system, which would be an expansion of Obamacare. However, when asked about these videos in November of 2013, Robertson’s campaign said that the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, is the law of the land and she is committed to finding ways to fix it.

Because of the past videos and Robertson’s more recent statements, we rate this claim as half true.

“And says global warming, not jobs, is her number one priority.”

In the clip quoted, Robertson says, “In my heart of hearts, the very most important issue is climate change.” According to the EPA, global warming and climate change are not the same thing.

Therefore, the claim is embellished and we rate it half true.

“Who’s raised her salary four times.”

According to the minutes from the Tompkins County Legislature on the dates cited by Reed’s ad, Robertson voted to raise the salary of Tompkins County legislators.

We rate this claim as true.

Overall, we rate this ad as mostly true.

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