Monday, November 24th, 2014

Before you vote Tuesday, check the rulings

 

The lively and occasionally bizarre primary fight between U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline and business man Anthony Gemma in the 1st Congressional District has generated enough claims and counter-claims to keep our Truth-O-Meter spinning for weeks.

But because the primary vote is Tuesday, we have taken a short break on fact-checking until the dust clears and the winners are picked.

Meanwhile, as voters make up their minds, we thought we’d reprise some recent rulings in the 1st District race. Here’s a sample:

Cicilline, touting President Obama’s job record during a televised debate, said the nation was losing 700,000 jobs a month when the President took office. "Now," he said, "we’ve had job growth, I think, for 24 consecutive months." Cicilline was slightly off on his numbers and time frame, but close enough to earn a Mostly True.

But we ruled differently on a claim Cicilline made in response to an attack by Gemma during another debate, as he criticized Cicilline’s handling of Providence’s finances while mayor. Gemma said Cicilline had "locked out" the city’s auditor, making it difficult for him to determine city’s financial condition.

Said Cicilline: "The auditor was not locked out and so that is absolutely untrue." But documents we reviewed showed that the auditor, James J. Lombardi III, had to file open records requests to get documents to which he was entitled and then waited months for the Cicilline administration to provide them.

We determined that while Lombardi was not "locked out" in the strictest sense, his inability to get timely information had the same effect. Our ruling on Cicilline’s claim: Mostly False.

Gemma earned a Mostly True ruling on a claim that Providence has "amongst the highest tax rate(s) in the country." While we couldn’t find any studies that directly compared tax burdens in all municipalities in the country, there were several which supported Gemma’s claim.

But we issued a Pants on Fire ruling on a claim Gemma made during a debate when the candidates were asked whether they would consider an increased tax on Chinese imports.

Cicilline expressed outrage that the U.S. Olympic Team’s uniforms were foreign-made.

Gemma went further, saying "Mr. Cicilline refers to the Olympic clothing that happened, but how about uniforms? How about our servicemen and women's uniforms that are manufactured in China?"

We found that for more than 70 years, the military has been prohibited by law from buying uniforms made in foreign countries.

See a scorecard of Cicilline's Truth-O-Meter rulings here. And checkGemma's scorecard here.
 
PolitiFact Rhode Island will continue to check the claims of candidates as they head for the November election. If you hear any claims in speeches, debates, radio and TV ads that you’d like us to check, e-mail us at politifact@providencejournal.com

Don’t forget to vote Tuesday.

And remember: the polls will be closing an hour earlier than usual, at 8 p.m.