Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ralph Reed's TV Ads False and Misleading, and his Opponent's Mostly on Target

Ralph Reed, former national executive director of the Christian Coalition, is making several false and misleading claims about Casey Cagle, his opponent in the race for the Republican nomination to be lieutenant governor of Georgia. Cagle is attacking Reed as well, with tough accusations about Reed's ties to convicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Those we find accurate, save for one made-up newspaper quote.

Reed falsely accuses Cagle of "failure to pay his taxes," which isn't so. Reed also accuses him of "unethical banking conflicts" for being both a banker and a state senator working on banking legislation, but that's common in many state legislatures. Reed also falsely attributes to Cagle a quote – "everybody does it" – which actually came from a newspaper editorial and not Cagle. And Reed's ads refer snidely to "millionaire Cagle," even though Reed himself is a multi-millionaire worth more than twice as much as his opponent.

Cagle's ad accuses Reed of taking millions from Abramoff to help casinos and working with Abramoff to deny legal protections to women and children in garment factories in the Mariana Islands where forced abortions and forced prostitution have been reported, all charges that are well documented. We found only one misstatement in Cagle's ad, which uses a phony newspaper quote to imply that Reed confirmed acceptance of money from Indian casinos. In fact, Reed still denies that he knew the money he got from Abramoff came from gambling, despite ample evidence to the contrary contained in a recent Senate report.



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