Contact Meet The Press via Twitter

Tag: FC-2010/06/13

The following is a fact-check from the June 13, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


ROGER SIMON (POLITICO) | In this election season only two of 217 house members lost their primaries – TRUE

MR. SIMON: That may be true, but it’s important to keep in mind that all but two of the 217 House members who ran for re-election won their primaries

According to both a CBS and ABC news article, out of 217 incumbents seeking new terms in the House, all but two have won their renomination. Therefore, we rate Roger Simon’s statement TRUE.


Special thanks to crowd-sourcer Nanette for assisting with this fact-check.


This fact-check took a combined 1.5 hours.


UPDATE: MASSIVE TYPO FIXED! THANKS TO READER TERI!

The following is a fact-check from the June 13, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL)

During the Bush Administration:

1) The government allowed the [oil] industry and the private sector [of the oil industry] to regulate themselves – LIKELY TRUE

2) MMS regulators went on trips/vactions with oil industry executives – TRUE

3) MMS regulators had sex with oil industry executives – FALSE

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): Where, where were the regulators? This from a party who has single handedly allowed industry and the private sector to regulate themselves, who presided over a, an agency in MMS that was so cozy with regulators–was so cozy with the oil industry executives that they were going on trips with them, taking vacations, even sleeping with them?

According to a report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), prior to the termination of Don Howard (former Gulf of Mexico MMS supervisor who was put on probation for accepting a trip from the oil industry) in 2007, MMS employees let oil industry representatives fill out inspections forms themselves, and MMS employees accepted gifts, trips and even had sexual relations with people from the oil industry. Here is an excerpt from the OIG report where Lake Charles District Manager Larry Williamson describes MMS’s relationship with the oil industry:

According to Williamson, many of the MMS inspectors had worked for the oil and gas industry and continued to be friends with industry representatives. “Obviously, we’re all oil industry,” he said. “We’re all from the same part of the country. Almost all of our inspectors have worked for oil companies out on these same platforms. They grew up in the same towns. Some of these people, they’ve been friends with all their life. They’ve been with these people since they were kids. They’ve hunted together. They fish together. They skeet shoot together ….They do this all the time.”

And here is an email that is pretty revealing, sent from a MMS inspector to a Conoco Phillips employee:

The e-mail chain began with the inspector sending the Conoco Phillips employee an e-mail with the subject line, “Civil Penalty Case recaps – 1st quarter 2006.” He stated, “These are the fines that we assessed to different companies for breaking the rules.” The Conoco Phillips employee responded, “[E]ver get bribed for some of that?” He replied, “They try all the time.” The Conoco Phillips employee responded back, “[E]ver take em?” the inspector said, “I accept ‘gifts’ from certain people. But we have VERY strict ethic standards as you could imagine.” The Conoco Phillips employee replied, “[C]ertain people, meaning women?” the inspector said, “No. meaning good friends that I wouldn’t write up anyway.”

Here is an excerpt about the falsification of inspection forms from the OIG report:

Another confidential source told investigators that some MMS inspectors had allowed oil and gas production company personnel located on the platform to fill out inspection forms. The forms would then be completed or signed by the inspector and turned in for review. According to the source, operating company personnel completed the inspection forms using pencils, and MMS inspectors would write on top of the pencil in ink and turn in the completed form

The OIG report included information about MMS inspectors taking trips offered by various offshore oil production companies. Here is what the report concluded about the trips:

E-mails for MMS inspectors from the Lake Charles office revealed that in 2005, 2006, and 2007, various offshore companies invited MMS personnel to events such as skeet-shooting contests, hunting and fishing trips, golf tournaments, crawfish boils, and Christmas parties. Some e-mails confirmed that MMS inspectors attended these events.

Also, two MMS inspectors went on a trip to the 2005 Peach Bowl, which was provided by Carlos Kibodeaux, a former foreman from Production Management, an offshore production company that operated in the Gulf of Mexico. (now Kibodeaux is the owner of Contract Operator Production Services)

According to a separate investigation conducted by the OIG, Gregory Smith (former head of MMS’s Royalty in Kind office [RIK] – the department of MMS that handled royalty payments [oil instead of cash] to the government from the oil industry to fulfill their lease agreements) had a sexual relationship with at least one employee at the RIK office. Here is an excerpt from the OIG report describing one incident involving Smith and an employee at RIK:

This employee stated that Smith took “the long way” between the two businesses, and during the drive he asked to go to her nearby house, but she refused. “He wanted to have sex; I said no,” she recalled. Smith then asked if she would have oral sex with him, but she told him she did not want to. She said Smith then “basically forced [her] head into his lap,” and she performed oral sex on him while he drove the car slowly.

Smith only admitted to having one sexual encounter with this RIK employee in January of 2003 or 2004. He said it happened at her house, involving “groping and touching” and oral sex. Smith also claimed they both did cocaine that night.

The more important case is Crystel Edler (a former RIK oil marketing specialist from 2001 until 2007) had a romantic relationship with two oil employees, one from Shell and the other from Chevron, and her boss Stacy Leyshon knew of the relationships. Here is an excerpt about the incident from OIG’s Investigative Report of MMS Oil Marketing Group:

Edler said she had romantic relationships with two men from the oil industry: One who worked for Shell Pipeline Company and an oil scheduler for Chevron. Edler said her supervisor, Leyshon, knew about both relationships, and Edler did not think there was a reason to rescue herself from dealing with Shell or Chevron. She claimed that she never discussed RIK business with either the Shell employee or the Chevron employee. When asked if she had personal or sexual relationships with anyone else from industry, Edler asked the agents if they had any emails or evidence with which to remind her, adding “I did date people.”

1) The Republican party allowed the [oil] industry and the private sector [of the oil industry] to regulate themselves.

According to the OIG report, prior to 2007, inspection forms were routinely filled out by oil production employees and finalized with an inspector’s signature. Many inspectors and oil industry employees were life-long friends, which led to conflicts of interest, specifically concerning the proper implication of fines or safety write-ups. Because the Republican administration was in office during these incidents and ultimately presided over MMS, we rate Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s statement LIKELY TRUE.

2)  When the Republicans presided over MMS (from overall context of interview, it’s obvious Schultz meant during Bush administration), MMS regulators went on trips/vacations with oil industry executives.

According to the OIG report, MMS employees went on hunting trips, to golf tournaments and to skeet-shooting contests with oil and gas employees, which were either completely paid for or partly paid for by oil industry representatives. Also, two MMS inspectors went with Carlos Kibodeaux, owner of Contract Operator Production Services, to the Peach Bowl in 2005. The MMS inspectors paid a portion of the travel expenses to the game, but the tickets and a majority of other costs are attributed to Carlos Kibodeaux. Therefore, because of the evidence included in the OIG report, we rate Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s statement TRUE.

3) When the Republican party presided over MMS (during Bush administration), MMS regulators had sex with oil industry executives.

According to a OIG investigation, Crystal Edler (former RIK oil marketing specialist) had romantic relations with two men from the oil industry. Neither of the men were executives at Shell or Chevron. One worked for Shell Pipeline Company and the other worked as an oil scheduler for Chevron. Ms.Wasserman Schultz specifically says MMS regulators were sleeping with oil executives and that as a technical statement is not factual. She is correct in what seems to be her overall point that there were inappropriate sexual relationships between MMS and the oil industry. However, because the individuals from the oil industry involved in the relationships were not executives, we cannot rate her statement as anything but FALSE.


The following fact-check took a combined 6 hours.

The following is a fact-check from the June 13, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


DAVID AXELROD

1) In 1994 the Republican Party had a nearly 60% favorability rating – LIKELY TRUE

2) Today, the Republican Party is at an all time low in favorability – FALSE

MR. AXELROD: Look, the Republican Party–everybody says, “Is this 1994?” In 1994 the Republican Party was nearly at 60 percent in favorability. Today, they’re at an all-time low.

According to the Pew Research Center, the Republican favorability rating in July of 1994 was 63%, and in December of 1994 it was 67%. This CBS News article indicates the average favorability for the Republican Party in 1994 was 57%. Looking at this Gallup chart tracking party favorability since 1993, it appears that they found the Republican Party’s favorability throughout 1994 to be somewhere in the low 50s (%).

According to a Gallup poll released on June 1, 2010, the Republican party currently had a favorability rating of 36%. A CBS poll in late May had the party’s favorability at 33%. The last Pew Research Center poll available on the subject was in April and that had the favorability rating for Republicans at 37%. None of these match the Republican Party’s lowest recorded favorability rating, 31%, which occurred in 1998 when the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach President Clinton.

1) Because the range of polls we were able to source regarding the favorability of the Republican Party in 1994 did average out to around 60%, we’ll rate Mr. Axelrod’s first part of this statement LIKELY TRUE(ED NOTE: We were unable to find direct links to 1994 polling results and instead relied on more recent articles by major polling firms  or news orgs that specifically referenced results from 1994.)

2) According to the Gallup, CBS, and Pew Research Center polls, the Republican party is not at an all time low in favorability but actually between 2% to 6% higher than the 1998 low. Therefore, we rate Mr. Axelrod’s second part of this statement FALSE.



This fact-check took a combined 3 hours.

The following is a fact-check from the June 13, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


CARLY FIORINA | The last head of the MMS (who recently resigned) came from the oil industry – FALSE

MS. FIORINA: And may I just say, it was Ken Salazar who put in place the secretary or the head of MMS who just recently resigned and who came from the industry.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL) | The last head of the MMS (who recently resigned) came from the U.S. House of Representatives – TRUE

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The head of MMS was from the House of Representatives. Liz Birnbaum came from the U.S. House of Representatives. She was an employee for many years, and then she moved from the House of Representatives to MMS.

According to both a Washington Post article and a profile of Elizabeth Birnbaum (former MMS director) put out by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Ms. Birnbaum did not come from the oil industry before moving to the Minerals Management Service. Here is the Department of Interior on Ms. Birnbaum’s prior work history:

Before her appointment, she was staff director for the Committee on House Administration, where she oversaw strategy development, budget management and staff activities for the committee that manages legislative branch agencies. From 2001-2007, she was Vice President for Government Affairs and General Counsel for American Rivers, where she directed advocacy programs for the nation’s leading river conservation organization.

Not only had Ms. Birnbaum not worked anywhere near the oil industry, but that fact was even a point of criticism against her. Now although Ms. Fiorina only said that the former MMS head came from “the industry,” not specifically the “oil” industry, it seems obvious that based on the larger context of her statements she indeed meant the oil industry. Therefore, since Ms. Birnbaum did not work in the oil industry and did work most recently for the U.S. House of Representatives, we rate Ms. Fiorina’s statement FALSE and Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s statement TRUE.


This fact-check took a combined 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Here are the statements to fact-check from the June 13, 2010 episode of Meet the Press.
Transcript | Video

If you can help us research them please either email us or (preferably) post your work in the comments below. (Anonymity is fine) Also let us know how long you spent researching each fact, we will be tracking it. The success of Meet the Facts depends on the crowd-sourcing of people like you, please help if you can!

Statements are listed in chronological order



TONY HAYWARD (BP) | (from ad) Thousands of BP employees live near the Gulf of Mexico.

MR. TONY HAYWARD:  To those affected in your families, I’m deeply sorry.  The Gulf is home for thousands of BP employees

DAVID AXELROD | Obama administration insisted BP drill two relief wells instead of one.

MR. AXELROD:  They wanted to drill one relief well, which is ultimately the answer to, to shutting down that well completely.  We said, “No, you’re going to drill two,” because if one didn’t work we want to make sure there was a back, a backstop.

DAVID AXELROD | Obama administration has brought in outside experts that have developed more effective methods for capturing the oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon leak.

MR. AXELROD:  And understand, when the president says he’s talking to experts, we’ve assembled under the, under the chairmanship of our secretary of energy a group of, of the best minds in an out of government, and they’ve been guiding a lot of what’s happened a lot–this effort to capture the oil is largely working better now because of theories that were developed by this outside group.

DAVID AXELROD

In response to the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, relief efforts have included the addition of 26,000 personnel.

In response to the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, relief efforts have included the placing of 5 million feet of boom.

In response to the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, relief efforts have included the mobilization of 5,500 vessels.

In response to the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, relief efforts have included 200 oil burns.

MR. AXELROD:  We’ve got–we’ve put 26,000 personnel on the ground, we’ve put down five million feet of boom, we’ve mobilized 5,500 vessels into the Gulf to deal with this.  We’ve [had] 200 burns of oil.

(ED NOTE: DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ & DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN ALSO CITE STATS FOR THIS SUBJECT IN THIS SHOW)

DAVID AXELROD

When Obama took office, the US economy was losing 750,000 jobs a month

When Obama took office, the US economy was losing 6.4% [unclear what Axelrod meant]

MR. AXELROD:  when he took office, the day he walked in the door, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month, we were losing 6.4 percent in our economy.

DAVID AXELROD | In the past three months the US economy has gained [we assume he meant gain] 140,000 new jobs per month

MR. AXELROD:  Now the economy is growing, now in the last three months we’ve averaged 140,000 jobs a month

DAVID AXELROD | Without additional assistance from the federal government, hundreds of thousands of school teachers will lose their jobs. [though he seems to walk back this assertion in his next comment]

MR. AXELROD:  But it’s clear we’re not out of the woods and we have to keep working at this; and that, and that’s certainly the prospect–the state governments are lagging behind.  The prospect that hundreds of thousands of school teachers, for example, are going to be laid off because of this…

DAVID GREGORY (NBC)

The US economy’s job growth last month included 41,000 private sector jobs.

US companies are hoarding cash, not spending it in the private sector.

Consumers have been cutting back on their retail spending.

MR. GREGORY:  Because you had, you had private sector job growth of 41,000 jobs last month, that was all.  You have companies that are hoarding cash, not spending it in the private sector.  You have consumers who are cutting down on their retail spending.

DAVID AXELROD

The currency situation in Greece and Europe negatively effected US consumer confidence.

On Friday, (June 11, 2010) the Consumer Confidence Index was up to a two-year high.

MR. AXELROD:  Well, David, you and I both know that there have been intervening events such as the crisis in Greece and the European currency situation.  So that has had an impact on confidence as well.  We were in a pretty good skein there.  But there are mixed signals.  On Friday the Consumer Confidence Index was up to a two-year high.  I mean, there are, there are mixed signals…

DAVID AXELROD

One of the mistakes made by Japan in dealing with their economic problems in the 1990’s was that they pulled out of their stimulative effort too quickly.

One of the mistakes made by the US in dealing with their economic problems in the 1930’s was that they pulled out of their stimulative effort too quickly.

MR. AXELROD:  …and that’s what generally happens in recovery.  But we don’t take anything for granted.  We have to keep pushing forward, and we should not be careless about pulling out of our, out of our stimulative effort too quickly.  That, that mistake was made in Japan in the ’90s, and… [Gregory comment] …and they had a decade of deflation.  That was–mistake was made in the ’30s in the United States.  We’re not going to make the same mistake.

DAVID AXELROD

In 1994 the Republican Party had a nearly 60% favorability rating.

Today, the Republican Party is at an all time low in favorability.

MR. AXELROD:  Look, the Republican Party–everybody says, “Is this 1994?” In 1994 the Republican Party was nearly at 60 percent in favorability.  Today, they’re at an all-time low.

DAVID AXELROD | In the past 16 months half of al-Qaeda’s leadership [assuming he means in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region] have been killed.

MR. AXELROD:  In the last 16 months, we have, we have damaged al-Qaeda in a way that hasn’t occurred since the beginning. Half their–of their top 20 leadership has been killed or captured because we’ve got cooperation on the Pakistan side of the border from Pakistan and because of our operations in Afghanistan.

CARLY FIORINA

There are reports of 13 separate federal agencies working on the Deepwater Horizon relief effort.

There are reports those agencies are not well coordinated.

There are reports of potentially useful cleanup equipment going unused in warehouses.

There are reports of local officials not getting the assistance they are requesting.

MS. FIORINA:  When we hear that there are 13 separate federal government agencies running around in confusion down there, when we hear that there is equipment that could be used to help clean up the Gulf sitting in warehouses, when we hear that there is assistance that is being pleaded for by local officials and that assistance is not coming,

CARLY FIORINA | Ken Salazar brought in the leader of the MMS, and he said it was to reform the agency.

MS. FIORINA:  despite the fact that the leader of MMS had been brought in by Ken Salazar in a move to reform the agency, according to him?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL)

The Republican party allowed the [oil] industry and the private sector [of the oil industry] to regulate themselves. [assume she means during the Bush administration]

When the Repulican party presided over the MMS [assume she means during the Bush administration]:

MMS regulators went on trips/vactions with oil industry executives.

MMS regulators had sex with oil industry executives.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL):  Where, where were the regulators? This from a party who has singlehandedly allowed industry and the private sector to regulate themselves, who presided over a, an agency in MMS that was so cozy with regulators–was so cozy with the oil industry executives that they were going on trips with them, taking vacations, even sleeping with them?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL) | Relief efforts for the Deepwater Horizon oil leak have included the authorization by President Obama of 17,500 members of the National Guard.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL):  President Obama has commanded over 5,000 vessels in the region to make sure that they are involved in the cleanup, 26,000 federal employees involved in the cleanup down there, mobilized and authorized up to 17,500 members of the National Guard, and is on his way down to the Gulf region for the fourth time.

CARLY FIORINA | The last head of the MMS (who recently resigned) came from the oil industry.

MS. FIORINA:  And may I just say, it was Ken Salazar who put in place the secretary or the head of MMS who just recently resigned and who came from the industry.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL) | The last MMS head (who recently resigned) came from the U.S. House of Representatives.

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  The head of MMS was from the House of Representatives.  Liz Birnbaum came from the U.S.  House of Representatives. She was an employee for many years, and then she moved from the House of Representatives to MMS.

CARLY FIORINA | The last head of the MMS resigned because she failed to reform the department.

MS. FIORINA:  And she was forced to resign because of her failure to reform the department as she promised to.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN

Women now make up 60% of college graduates.

Women now make up 68% of master’s degree graduates.

Women now make up almost 42% of MBA graduates.

MS. GOODWIN:  But I think something is different here.  I think what’s different is underneath, there’s a social revolution that’s gone on in the last 20 years.  Women are now 60 percent college graduates, 68 percent master degree graduates.  More PhDs, more–almost 42 percent MBAs.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL) | The NRCC has put out a list of 104 “young guns” races, of which seven are for women candidates.

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  We have 104 members that the NRCC–a 104 races that the NRCC has put on their “young guns” watch list.  Of those–and they had a much ballyhooed aggressive attempt to recruit top female candidates–they have seven women out of 104 on that list

ROGER SIMON (POLITICO) | In this election season only two of 217 house members lost their primaries.

MR. SIMON:  That may be true, but it’s important to keep in mind that all but two of the 217 House members who ran for re-election won their primaries

CARLY FIORINA | Since the institution of the stimulus package, unemployment numbers have gone up substantially. [because of the context of her larger statement, an assumption can be made that she meant “because of the stimulus” as well]

MS. FIORINA:  Since the institution of the stimulus package, our unemployment picture has deteriorated substantially.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL)

Carly Fiorina is “pro-gun” [what does that mean?].

Carly Fiorina is pro-life.

Carly Fiorina supports expanded offshore drilling as a solution to our energy problems.

REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:  Craig***(as spoken)***you’ll note, you’ll note that Carly didn’t mention anything that she disagrees with the Republican Party because she essentially doesn’t.  She’s pro-gun, she’s anti-choice, she supports expanded offshore oil drilling as a solution to our energy problems.


Did we miss something? Let us know!

If you can help us research them please either email us or (preferably) post your work in the comments below. Also also let us know how long you spent researching each fact.

THANKS!

Identifying and posting these statements took 4 hours.


POST YOUR RESEARCH HERE