Posted 11:14 PM 6/6/2012 : TRUTH CHECK: Blaha attack ad on Lamborn
Leading up to the June 26 primary election in Colorado, we're putting several prominent campaign advertisements through a Truth Check for News 5 at 10:00. Our second Truth Check features an advertisement by the Robert Blaha for Congress campaign, targeting the incumbent in the Republican primary in the 5th Congressional District, Rep. Doug Lamborn.
The ad, called "Lamborn's Perks Galore," is paid for and approved by the Blaha campaign. It begins by saying "The Gazette caught Doug Lamborn earmarking millions to campaign donors." This is unclear. It refers to a Gazette report from June 18, 2011 which analyzed $156 million in earmark requests from 2008-2010. Of the $55 million awarded, more than $12 million did go to military projects which had donated to Lamborn's campaign, but the remaining $43 million went to military projects by non-donors. The report quotes the Center for Responsive Politics, identified in the story as opensecrets.org, as saying there's no clear cause-and-effect between campaign donations and earmark requests. To say The Gazette "caught" Lamborn earmarking for campaign donors is to imply the reporter for the story had surreptitious intent.
The ad says, "Yet Lamborn and his wife still trotted around the globe -- Amsterdam, three trips to West Palm Beach, and a stay at the Ritz Carlton Hotel." This is true, but there's more. It refers to trips privately-funded by non-profit organizations where Lamborn participated in various official Congressional capacities and where spouses were allowed to attend. No taxpayer money was involved and lodging venues were decided on by event organizers. Critics claim such privately-funded trips buy access for special interests. Lamborn's spokesperson says if the Congressman had declined the trips, he would have denied himself critical perspective on crucial issues and would've been accused of not doing his job.
The ad says, "He's 0-for-40 getting bills passed into law." This is true. No legislation authored by Lamborn has ever received the President's signature.