Presidential campaign, election issues dominate November High Five

GOP presidential candidates appeared at a debate in Milwaukee Nov. 10
GOP presidential candidates appeared at a debate in Milwaukee Nov. 10

The 2016 presidential campaign drew the most attention from PolitiFact Wisconsin readers in November, thanks in part to the Republican debate in Milwaukee.

Other election issues also played a key part in our November High Five.

The most-clicked item was a claim from U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, who said "‘Dark money’ spending" in the 2016 election cycle "is 10 times what it was at the same point in the 2012 election cycle," when it topped $308 million.

We rated the claim True.

We found that so-called dark money spending in election campaigns -- by groups that don’t have to disclose their donors -- exceeded $308 million in the 2012 election cycle. And so far in the 2016 cycle, it has reached nearly $5 million -- more than 10 times the $440,000 that had been spent at this point in the 2012 cycle.

Here are the other most-read stories for November:

No. 2. An "In Context" article looking at statements by Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. who discussed his earlier statement related to black people who are uneducated, lazy and morally bankrupt.

Clarke maintained he was not talking about all African Americans, saying: "I was talking about the scourge of the black community. And I was talking about drugs being the scourge of the black community."

Said Clarke: "And I said, here’s why people sell drugs in the black community -- because they’re lazy, they’re uneducated and they’re morally bankrupt. How can anybody argue about that? Who would stand up and protect a drug dealer? Who would stand up and protect the reputation?"

No. 3. In advance of the Nov. 10 GOP debate, readers turned to a PolitiFact article that rounded up 10 of the latest fact checks involving the top five candidates in the large field of contenders.

No. 4. U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz, appeared at a news conference with U.S. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) following the terror attacks in Paris. They were part of a group of Republicans discussing a bill that would require  President Barack Obama to develop a plan for defeating the Islamic State.

McSally claimed: The United States has "10,000 IRS agents making sure that you don't take an improper charity deduction," but to fight terrorism, it has "less than two dozen people focusing on countering violent extremism at home."   

We rated her claim Mostly False. She greatly understated what IRS agents do and, to conclude there are only two dozen people who focus on countering violent extremism in the country, she defined that group very narrowly.

No. 5. A claim in the Milwaukee debate by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) who said that his rival, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, proposes $1 trillion boosts in welfare and defense.

We rated the claim Mostly True. Over 10 years, a common time frame for federal budget planning, Rubio’s child tax credit would result in the loss of $1 trillion in tax revenue; and his plan to reverse declines in Pentagon spending would cost $1 trillion.

It’s a stretch to call the tax credit welfare and, in making his claim, Paul didn’t note that the $1 trillion costs would be over 10 years.