Fact-finding: Breaking down Loeffler v Warnock Georgia Senate slugfest offensive ads

In one race, Republican-in-office Kelly Loeffler faces Democrat Raphael Warnock. David Perdue, the other Republican in office, opposes Democrat Jon Ossoff.

There are so many ads running in Georgia right now – according to Kantar Media / CMAG, between $ 10 million and $ 5 million in advertising spending between November 10 and January 5, we couldn’t estimate all of them.

But let’s take a look at some of the ads that appear most often on the slugfest between Loeffler and Warnock.

Warnock’s comments on Ferguson

An ad in Loeffler’s campaign claims that “Raphael Warnock called police bandits and gangsters.” An ad for a Republican Super PAC, American Crossroads, similarly claims that Warnock “compared” cops to thugs and thugs.

First the facts: Both ads leave an important context: Warnock specifically criticized the abusive policing practices in Ferguson, Missouri, and did not speak of police officers in general in the 2015 comments to which the ads appear to refer.

Warnock is chief pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. In his March 2015 sermon discussing power, poverty, and race, he called on parishioners to read the Justice Department’s report on the Ferguson police, which was issued earlier this week. According to the report, the Ferguson police and the municipal court system have routinely violated the constitutional rights of black residents, in part through a system of penalties for minor violations.

Warnock said the federal report “talks about the use of police force and police violence to crush the poor.” Minutes later, he continued, “In Ferguson: the police force appears in a kind of gangster and bandit mentality.”

Warnock continued, “You know, you can wear all kinds of colors and you can be a bandit. Sometimes you can wear the colors of the state and act like a bandit. People get these violations and then they don’t show up in court because they have to go to work and try. to earn dollars from 15 cents, and that’s just a small, offensive offense, and they’re also struggling with interest and fees, all with the threat of imprisonment. ”

Warnock had previously made similar remarks about police abuse in his sermon when he spoke of a civil rights icon, CT Vivian, being attacked in Selma, Alabama in 1965 by local sheriff Jim Clark. Warnock called Clark “a ruff dressed in state uniforms, the embodiment of mass violence authorized by state power.”

Warnock and police release

The same American Crossroads ad attempts to link Warnock to the “police protection” movement.

According to the narrator of the ad, “National policing police radicals are flocking to Georgia to support Warnock. Anti-police extremists support it because it’s one of them.”

The ad does not explicitly state that Warnock wants to free the police, but at least suggests that it does.

First the facts: It is true that Warnock is supported by progressive groups who have called for support for police funding, but Warnock himself has consistently opposed the idea; instead, he called for policing reforms. Furthermore, it is misleading to suggest that groups supporting Warnock are re-emerging in the state: the groups mentioned in the ad were active in Georgian politics long before that. announced his candidacy in January.
Warnock has been clear for months that he does not support police cash seizures. For example, as FactCheck.org noted in November, in a June radio interview, he said, “Well, I don’t think we should save the police. I think we should fund policing responsibly. We need to rethink policing. And rethink law enforcement.” and community relations. We definitely need to demilitarize the police so we can restore trust between the police and the community. ”
In small print, the American Crossroads ad quoted three progressive organizations — Democracy for America, MoveOn, and the Working Families Party — as evidence of a claim that supporters of police funds are “flocking to Georgia to support Warnock.” All three entities do expressed aid because police funding, along with other changes, all three actually support Warnock and Ossoff, and all three have out-of-state volunteers who support Democrats in various ways.

But the language in the ad, about national supporters of the police “flocking” to Georgia in support of Warnock, suggests that these progressive groups are outsiders who have suddenly emerged in the state from an ideological kinship to Warnock in the matter of policing. This is not true.

“America’s democracy has not ‘flocked’ to Georgia to support Rev. Raphael Warnock, we have been in the state for years,” Charles Chamberlain, the group’s chairman, said in an email. “We have 30,142 members in Georgia, and in addition to being Reverend Warnock’s early supporters, we have supported elected leaders in several states throughout our 16-year history, including the approval of Stacey Abrams on the first day of his 2018 governing campaign.”

Chamberlain added, “Reverend Raphel Warnock was extremely clear that he wanted to reform and rethink policing, not destroy it. Period. The story is over.”

Britney Whaley, a senior political strategist for the Working Families Party, said in an email that “local activists began building the Georgia Working Families Party in 2017 to support Stacey Abrams’ successful candidacy for democratic governoral pre-election.”

Warnock and Fidel Castro

The Loeffler campaign ad claims that Warnock “organized a rally for communist dictator Fidel Castro.”

First the facts: This is misleading at best; there is no evidence that Warnock personally hosted Castro. In 1995, Castro spoke and cheered at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York, where the then 20-year-old Warnock he was a youth pastor. There is no evidence that Warnock played a role in the decision to invite Castro to speak; PolitiFact neves that Warnock was not on the daisy when Castro was introduced.

Warnock said in a December debate with Loeffler about Castro, “I never met him, I never invited him. It has nothing to do with me.”

Loeffler and shares

An ad from Georgia Honor, the Democratic Super PAC, will attack Loeffler in January and February for stock trading.

The ad says Loeffler had prior knowledge of the dangers of the coronavirus because he received a private government briefing on Jan. 24, but instead of protecting the public, he “defended his stock portfolio” – “sold up to $ 3 million in shares.” but saying to the Americans that “everything was fine.”

A newspaper headline-style graphic says, “Insider trading has been investigated.”

First the facts: Although Loeffler has indeed been investigated, the ad omits important correlations by not mentioning the results of the investigations. The Department of Justice and the Senate Ethics Committee have closed their investigations without charge or other violation.

In May, CNN reported that the Department of Justice had completed an investigation into the Loeffler trade and the trade of two other senators who had significant transactions prior to the pandemic-related collapse. In a letter to Loeffler in June, the Senate Ethics Committee said it found no evidence that its actions violated federal law, Senate rules, or standards of conduct.
It is not clear that Loeffler had any role in deciding to sell the shares. SHE says that all sales were made by third-party investment advisers who manage his portfolio without his involvement and that he knew about the trades only after they were completed.
“I’m not involved in these decisions. I’m not talking to anyone about them.” said at CNBC in March.
Loeffler, according to federal disclosure reports, sold stock between $ 1.28 million and $ 3.1 million with her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, on Jan. 24, the day health officials in both sides informed senators on both sides of the virus, and Feb. 14. bought shares for between $ 450,000 and $ 1 million (including shares in Citrix, a software company used for teleconferencing).

Loeffler’s comments

The same Georgia Honor ad seeks to break the link between Loeffler’s January and February stock sales and public comments about the epidemic.

After the ad’s narrator said, “he told us everything was fine,” the ad snapped to Loeffler’s clip, “The good news is that the consumer is strong, the economy is strong.”

First the facts: This contrast is misleading. Loeffler did not quote on the economy after the January 24 prospectus or at the same time as the January and February stock sales criticized by the ad. The clip is more from a video posted on Twitter on March 10 – a decline in pandemic-related stock exchanges for more than three weeks. Loeffler said in a tweet that he would speak after a discussion with the president, vice president and finance minister Steven Mnuchin.

Loeffler’s claim about the economy was certainly debatable. But the ad may give the impression that this video shows that Loeffler is publicly reviving the economy while dumping stocks with its own stocks before the collapse of stock markets. That’s not really what happened.

The Warnock campaign itself quoted another Loeffler comment, from February 28th beep, as evidence, underestimated the epidemic during the dumping of shares. In a tweet, he said: “Democrats have dangerously and deliberately misled the American people about # Coronavirus preparedness. Here’s the truth: @realDonaldTrump and his administration are doing a great job of keeping Americans healthy and safe.”

You can argue about the significance of this quote. Nonetheless, the Super PAC quote was not used in the ad.

CNN’s Jeremy Herb, Hyeyoon’s Alyssa Choi and Tara Subramaniam contributed to this article.