Monday, November 24th, 2014

Our June High Five

Gov. Scott Walker discusses developments in the John Doe criminal investigation.
Gov. Scott Walker discusses developments in the John Doe criminal investigation.

Two sharply different statements regarding the now-stalled investigation into whether there was illegal coordination among conservative groups and Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign rose to the top of our most-clicked list for June.

At the top of our High 5 list was a statement made by Walker during a June 20, 2014 interview on the nationally-televised "Fox & Friends."

The appearance came a day after a court released documents that included a statement by prosecutors that said they believed Walker was part of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising (They have since said Walker personally is not a target). In the TV appearance, Walker claimed the John Doe probe had been resolved and that two judges had said it was "over."

We rated the claim False.

The investigation has been stopped, for now, under one judge’s ruling. A second ruling by a different judge did not end the probe, and prosecutors have appealed the two rulings Walker mentioned. So the matter, while stalled, is continuing in the courts. It is not over.

The John Doe documents factored into our No. 2 item, which came from a web video produced by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. The video ends with Walker nodding and appearing to acknowledge guilt when asked by a reporter if he was at the center of an illegal scheme.

But that nod was the result of sketchy editing. In real life, Walker answered an emphatic "no."  

We rated the claim Pants on Fire.

Rounding out our June High Five:

3. A claim by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who argued Medicare must be reformed because it is "going broke. The trust fund goes bankrupt in 2026."

The trust fund for Medicare Part A is projected to be exhausted in 2026, but that doesn’t mean the program would be bankrupt or stop operating. Part A would continue to receive revenue and continue to operate, albeit at a reduced level. Meanwhile, there is no projection that the other parts of Medicare will run out of money.

We rated the claim Mostly False.

4. Walker’s claim that high school graduation rates and third grade reading scores have improved since he took office. Both have increased, but we noted the reading scores have fluctuated and the trend in improvement was under way before Walker took over.

We rated the claim Mostly True.

5.  A Walker television ad that sought to tie his likely Democratic opponent Mary Burke to massive in tax hikes. That ad said that when Burke was commerce secretary under former Gov. Jim Doyle, the state boosted billions in taxes on "nursing home beds, gas, phones and garbage."

But the claim took in Doyle’s entire time in office, not just the period in which Burke was in the cabinet. For that narrower period, there was a proposal to increase taxes on the four items mentioned by $366 million -- not the billions claimed. And in the end, a divided Legislature reduced the figure and approved $19 million in increases for those items.

We rated the claim False.