Listen, after spending almost three hours watching the Tea Party debate on Monday I am fully aware that Republicans don’t understand what a fact is or how to properly use one. Listening to all eight of them swear up and down that Social Security is a ponzi scheme and that Barack Obama is a socialist it is clear facts are not something Republicans totally get.

Which brings us to Building a Better Ohio’s fact check of the most recent anti-SB 5 ad. The ad, Loophole, highlights the hypocrisy of Governor Kasich and the lawmakers who passed SB 5 and the fact that they exempted themselves from the performance pay provisions of SB 5 and still continue to give themselves raises. By citing existing the law and using other facts pulled from various articles, the ad does an excellent job slamming the Kasich administration for demanding everyone else share in the sacrifice except for themselves.

Today though Building a Better Ohio released their fact checking on the ad and I’m starting to wonder if the folks over at Building a Better Ohio have even bother to read the bill. (We could have saved them a lot of trouble anyways on that front.) Because based on the “fact checking” that went on I don’t know if they have. For example, this is their response to the ad’s claim that SB 5 includes exemptions for lawmakers:

“But those same politicians exploited a loophole exempting themselves from Senate Bill 5.”

Issue 2 does not exempt politicians.  In fact, non-union state employees (which includes elected officials and their staffs) already pay 15 percent of their health insurance premium, and they already make a 10 percent personal contribution toward their guaranteed pension.  They also do not receive automatic salary increases, and they earn their pay based on job performance.  Issue 2 actually restores fairness by applying these policies equally to all government employees.

First, they are right, Issue 2 doesn’t exempt politicians, SB 5 does, which is what the ad is talking about. Second, SB 5 does exempt all state wide elected officials, legislators, and their staff from performance pay provisions by using a loophole that existed prior to SB 5. Simply issuing a denial doesn’t mean the ad is wrong, normally you need to show evidence on why this claim isn’t accurate. Third, the Governor receives automatic pay raises ever year that are written into code(don’t let them tell you its a cost of living adjustment because a) that is still a raise and b) the vast majority of public employees have had their cost of living raises frozen for multiple years at this point). Fourth, none of these people that I have just mentioned are paid based on their job performance. If that was true then Building a Better Ohio needs to tell me how much money Kasich is forgoing this year based on his poll numbers. And, fifth, all government employees would be ecstatic if they received pay increases every year, bonuses, and were paid a generous salary for doing a part time job like the lawmakers who passed SB 5.

Phew. And that was just one example of their brilliant “fact checking”. It is chalk full of “facts” that are either made-up, in accurate, or have nothing to do with the claims in the ad. Its like the Building a Better Ohio people handed an intern some talking points, told him to watch the Loophole video and write up some rebuttals.

Let’s just do another one for fun.

“While firefighters, police and nurses make sacrifices, the insiders and people at the top get big raises and bonuses.”

  • Issue 2 does not prohibit raises or bonuses for any government employee.  It only says that salary increases should be based in part on job performance.
I have been staring at these two comments for awhile now and I have no idea how they are related.  The quoted text is about firefighter and police officers making sacrifices while politicians get raises. And their rebuttal is this: ?????
That bullet point makes zero sense. If I had to answer it though I would say that they are correct, SB 5 does not do away with bonuses or raises. That is the problem – lawmakers and their staff continue to give themselves raises and bonuses without being subject the performance pay system they demand everyone else be subjected to. That is point. That is the hypocrisy.
Which brings me to my last point. Maybe it isn’t that Building a Better Ohio don’t understand how to use facts – maybe it is that Building a Better Ohio don’t understand hypocrisy. Not only do they concede multiple claims made in the ad, but at the same time their answers to those claims amount to, “yes lawmakers should receive bonuses and generous benefit packages and now they shouldn’t have to abide by the same performance pay requirements in SB 5” That seems hypocritical to me and that is what I don’t think Building a Better Ohio understands.