Truth Alert: Democratic anti-Hawley ad

Truth Alert: Democratic anti-Hawley ad

COLUMBIA, Mo. - In this information age, it seems harder than ever to sort fact from fiction.

This is especially true when it comes to politics and political advertisements.

ABC 17 News is working, in depth, to separate the truth from the spin.

We start by looking deeper into an advertisement running on the Networks of Mid-Missouri.

It’s a commercial by SMP, Senate Majority PAC, trying to convince you that state Attorney General Josh Hawley is not the best representation for Missourians in the U.S. Senate.

By its own description, SMP was “founded by experienced, aggressive Democratic strategists with one mission: To win Senate races.”

The commercial starts off saying, "It’s a secret texting app that makes messages disappear, but it’s no secret why our governor, facing scandal, would be using it.”

That’s true. Gov. Greitens and his staff were using the app Confide which deletes texts, pictures and videos right after they’re viewed by the recipient. 

The governor and his staff claim they only used the app to set appointment and meeting times but say they did not use it for state business, although that’s now almost impossible to tell. Hawley launched an investigation into the use of the app.

The ad goes on to claim, "Editorials say it’s clear that evidence has been destroyed. But Attorney General Josh Hawley came to the governor’s rescue, proclaiming him innocent.”

This is partially true. “Editorials” say it’s true, but again, there’s really no hard evidence either way.

Hawley didn’t actually declare the governor “innocent,” he only said he could find no evidence of legal wrongdoing.

The commercial continues, "The same Josh Hawley who took almost $50,000 in contributions from Governor Greitens.”

This is true. During 2016, the Greitens for Governor campaign contributed about $2,000 in September, $5,000 on Oct. 4 and another $42,000 on Oct. 26. They were marked with the Missouri Ethics Commission as “in-kind” contributions -- meaning instead of cash, the contribution is in the form of goods and services such as consulting, polling services, supplies or advertisements.

The commercial closes by saying, "All Missourians should worry and we should be asking ourselves: is Josh Hawley bought and paid for? SMP is responsible for the content of this advertising."

While it’s true that SMP is responsible for the advertisement, the question of Mr. Hawley being "bought and paid for" will be decided by Missouri voters in August and November.

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