Friday, September 19th, 2014

Fact-checking "Wizard of Oz" ad that casts Nancy Pelosi as Wicked Witch of the West

Nancy Pelosi's opponent premiers an ad based on "The Wizard of Oz"

Seeking to raise his profile with an attention-grabbing Internet video, Republican John Dennis joined Dale Peterson and Rick Barber  in this season's Pantheon of Viral Campaign Ads.

In his Wizard of Oz-themed ad, Dennis casts his opponent, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the Wicked Witch of the West.

"I will save you from those evil Republicans," the Pelosi character cackles. "But first, pay $18,000 a month for my downtown office."

There's a lot to take in -- like the Pelosi character summoning her flying "IRS" moneys, before Dennis steps in and pours a bucket of water (labeled "freedom") on the witch, melting her.

With a half-million hits after just a few days online, Dennis appears to have gotten the attention he hoped for.

We decided to weigh in with a fact-check on that claim taxpayers pay $18,000 a month for Pelosi's district office in downtown San Francisco. Public records show the rent for Pelosi's new district office is, in fact, $18,736 a month -- nearly twice as much as the next-highest rental paid by a member of the House. House members get an allowance to run their offices and pay their staff, which they can allocate as they see fit, and Pelosi did not exceed her allowance. But the ad is right about the stiff rent for her district office, and so we rated the claim True.