PolitiFact roundup


PolitiFact recently checked a campaign claim by Georgia’s Brian Kemp on illegal immigrants and voting; a claim by a new Alabama senator that gun-purchase waiting periods help reduce suicides; and President Donald Trump’s statement that the Democrat who won a congressional race in Pennsylvania had praised Trump. Here are summaries of our findings. Full versions can be found at www.politifact.com.

Says he “fought Obama twice and won to stop illegal immigrants from voting.”

— Brian Kemp campaign on Monday, March 5th, 2018 in a Facebook post

The narrator in a campaign video for Georgia Republican Brian Kemp, the secretary of state who’s running for governor, says Kemp battled President Barack Obama “to stop illegal immigrants from voting.”

Courts dismissed lawsuits Kemp filed to change voting procedures in Georgia — after the Obama administration allowed the voting changes. Also, there’s no indication Obama wanted immigrants in the country voting illegally.

The Justice Department did oppose one of the changes Georgia sought, but later found no objection after the state revised it. So, Kemp and the Justice Department eventually were on the same side.

Our ruling

The facts don’t support the Kemp ad’s assertion. The Obama administration allowed Georgia’s changes to keep noncitizens from voting. As secretary of state, Kemp was required to seek approval for the changes from the Justice Department or a federal court. He got it from the Justice Department, so the lawsuits were dismissed. Experts described the process as routine under the law.

The ad is flat-wrong to suggest that the Obama administration wanted immigrants in the country illegally to cast votes in elections.

We rate this claim False.

“States that have implemented waiting periods have seen significant decreases in suicides.”

— Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., on Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 in a Senate speech

Jones voiced support for steps including a mandatory waiting period on the purchase of firearms. He linked waiting periods to reduced suicide rates.

A 2000 study looked at the effect of the Brady Law, which temporarily required waiting periods, on gun violence and suicide. It found waiting periods were associated with reductions in the firearm suicide rate for people age 55 and older but not linked to lower suicide rates overall. Researchers in a 2017 study, “Handgun waiting periods reduce gun deaths,” that examined every change to waiting-period laws in the United States from 1970 and 2014 wrote: “Waiting periods lead to a 7–11 percent reduction in gun suicides (depending on the control variables used in the specification), which is equivalent to 22–35 fewer gun suicides per year for the average state.”

Our ruling

A 2017 study cited by some foremost gun control experts found waiting periods led to a 7–11 percent reduction in gun suicides. That said, one expert said the statistical significance of the findings depended on which model was used, and one of the study’s co-authors was somewhat measured in describing its conclusions about waiting periods and suicide reduction.

We rate this Mostly True.

Says Conor Lamb “ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me.”

— President Donald Trump on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in Private fundraiser

Conor Lamb, winner of last week’s closely watched special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, actually said very little about the president during his campaign, and he held off on criticizing the commander-in-chief when many Democrats have made the president the focus of their calls to action.

Asked if she agreed that the Lamb campaign had praise for Trump around points of agreement, campaign manager Abby Murphy said “No, I don’t think it was ever that specific.” During the campaign, Lamb did express support for Trump’s plan to apply stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. He also told The Atlantic, “We need the office of the presidency to succeed if we’re gonna make any progress on these issues,” when asked what he thought of Trump.

But experts argue that even if you judge those comments as charitable by 2018 political standards, Trump’s “very nice things” claim remains misleading.

Our ruling

At times Lamb showed himself to be in agreement with Trump on certain policy points. But Trump equating this with high praise goes too far in interpreting and exaggerating what Lamb actually said. We found no evidence of Lamb lavishing praise on the president and instead found evidence of Lamb pivoting away from the subject on the campaign trail.

We rate this claim False.



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