PolitiFact adding coverage of pivotal U.S. House races

From left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., appear for a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony. (AP)
From left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., appear for a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony. (AP)

Starting today, PolitiFact is expanding its coverage of pivotal 2018 U.S. House races to help sort out fact from fiction on the campaign trail.

We’ve hired additional fact-checkers to monitor claims in closely contested races, and we’re making our work available  free to news organizations in the districts we’re following. (If you’re in the media and interested in publishing our fact-checks, contact us at [email protected])

We launch this initiative with four new fact-checks:

In California’s 45th Congressional District, Democrat Katie Porter accused incumbent U.S. Rep. Mimi Walters of raising taxes on middle-class Californians. But Porter’s claim is misleading. We rated it Mostly False.

In Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, the PAC of House Speaker Paul Ryan said Democrat Kara Eastman wants to raise taxes in the Omaha-area district by $2,500 a family. But the evidence doesn’t support that. Our verdict: False.

In Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, Ryan’s super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, accused Democrat state lawmaker Jared Golden of voting "to let welfare recipients use your tax dollars to buy tattoos, tobacco, alcohol, even lottery tickets." But that’s not what the vote actually did. We rated that statement Mostly False.

And in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District, Ryan’s PAC targeted Democrat Amy McGrath, also over welfare, saying she "wants to fund more welfare for people who can work, but don’t." McGrath supports existing laws that allow people to receive government assistance without working. But she hasn’t proposed an expansion of those provisions. We rated the claim Half True.

This expanded coverage work is made possible, in part, thanks to support from the Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust. If you see something in your congressional race that you think needs fact-checking, please send it to us at [email protected]

We’re also partnering this year with the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica to track political ads on Facebook. You can participate in that project, called the Political Ad Collector, by installing a plug-in for your desktop web browser, either Chrome or Firefox. When you go on Facebook, the Political Ad Collector works to automatically detect political ads..

Once we capture the ads, PolitiFact will fact-check the ones that make factual claims.

The next eight weeks will be filled with heated campaign rhetoric, provocative political advertising and edgy social media messages. PolitiFact will be there to sort it all out for you.

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