Ad attempts to tie political donations to policy decisions

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — Nationally, Republicans are pushing inflation as the fault of Democrats. This ad attempts to reverse the argument against Republicans.

Source: Rep. Christina Bohannan (D-Iowa City) takes on Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-02) in Iowa’s 1st congressional district. Her campaign airs an ad on TV9 in which she argues that first-term congressmen’s policy decisions on inflation are linked to donations to her political campaign.

Claim: “Prices keep going up and my opponent won’t do anything about it, perhaps because she’s too committed to big oil and pharma.”

Analysis: It’s worth noting that the on-screen text makes a slightly different claim that “Mariannetee Miller-Meeks took over $1 million from special interests in Washington.”

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According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks political spending, the congresswoman has accepted donations from 538 Political Action Committees (PACs) across all different industries worth about $1,004,975.

The campaign said it has specifically used data from ideological and industry PACs at the Center for Responsive Politics since 2007, when it first ran for Congress. These numbers are more than 1 million dollars.

However, these donations, specifically from big oil and pharmaceutical companies, total less than $1 million. Rep. Marionette Miller-Meeks has received a total of $38,840 from oil and gas-related individuals and political action committees (PACs) during this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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A TV9 analysis of congressmen’s FEC data, specifically their two active campaigns, shows that most of those donations were $10,000 and under. These drug company donations are even smaller, ranging from $500 to $3,500 from about 9 companies, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Those donations have added up throughout Miller-Meeks’ political career, as she ran for Congress multiple times before her 2020 election. The Center for Responsive Politics said she received $137,660 from groups and individuals related to energy and natural resources from 2007 to 2022. She also received $564,754 from individuals and PACs related to the health sector received, including medical professionals.

Both Rep. Miller-Meeks and Rep. Bohannan have accepted donations from leadership PACs that accept donations from oil and drug companies.

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Although it didn’t say so in the ad, the campaign said it was referring to Miller-Meek’s vote against the bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act. According to the Congressional Research Service, the bill will change tax laws, allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices for certain drugs, and fund numerous climate protection initiatives.

Conclusion: The narrator’s claim and the text on the screen are at odds with each other, which misleads the audience. The ad also provides no evidence of how those donations influence Rep. Miller-Meeks’ political positions. That’s why this ad gets a D.

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