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Fact check: A look at what’s true (and what’s not) in the race between Mike Coffman and Jason Crow

A roundup of fact checks on TV ads in the 6th Congressional District race finds many problems with the political claims

  • Credibility:

The 6th Congressional District is one of the most hotly contested races in the nation and key to Democrats’ attempts to retake the U.S. House.

The contest between Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Jason Crow also is seeing the most advertising spending in the state — and that means plenty of misleading or false commercials.

To help voters, Colorado media outlets are putting the claims through a reality check.

Here’s a rundown of all the political fact checks from the 6th District race and whether they meet the truth test:

(CBS4 Denver is a reporting partner with The Colorado Sun this election. Check back for updates throughout the campaign.)

Jason Crow, left, and U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman are both military veterans. (Provided photos)

Mike Coffman is not Donald Trump, despite what Jason Crow says

The claim: “Coffman voted with Trump more than any Colorado member of Congress, 96 percent.”

From: Democratic Congressional Committee, in support of Jason Crow

Fact check verdict from CBS4: Misleading

The context: The number is reported accurately. FiveThirtyEight.com found Republican Mike Coffman voted in line with President Donald Trump 95.7 percent of the time, more than any other member of the state’s delegation. But what it doesn’t say: It’s about 90 out of 1,000 votes, and many of the votes were bipartisan. More here. Source: CBS4

Related: A Fox31 fact check found the number true but it needed more context. More here.

A twisting of the facts on Mike Coffman and Trump’s tax bill

The claim: “Coffman voted for Trump’s plan to sabotage our health care. He voted for Trump’s tax giveaway, threatening our Social Security and Medicare.”

From: Democratic Congressional Committee, in support of Jason Crow

Fact check verdict from CBS4: Misleading

The context: Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman supported the tax bill supported by President Donald Trump, but it’s a step too far to say it sabotaged the federal health care law. He also hasn’t taken a position on a proposed budget to change Social Security and Medicare. Source: CBS4

Related: A Fox31 fact check found this misleading. More here.

Mike Coffman votes at issue in health care debate

The claim: Mike Coffman threatened “protections for pre-existing conditions”

From: Democratic Congressional Committee, in support of Jason Crow

Fact check verdict from CBS4: Misleading

The context: U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman voted to repeal the federal health care law — but when President Obama was in office, so it was not a real risk. He also voted against the Republican plan to undo major provisions in the Affordable Care Act — because it did not limit the amount insurance companies could charge patients with pre-existing conditions. More here. Source: CBS4

MORE: In his toughest political battle yet, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman is trying to navigate his way to another re-election against growing headwinds

Mike Coffman is not always loyal to Donald Trump

The claim: “Coffman didn’t stand up to Donald Trump – plain and simple.”

From: Democratic Congressional Committee, in support of Jason Crow

Fact check verdict from Fox31: Misleading

The context: U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman agrees with fellow Republican, President Donald Trump on a number of issues. But he disagrees on a handful of high-profile topics, too. One issue is immigration and another is net neutrality. More here. Source: Fox31

Mike Coffman’s military service is well documented

The claim: “Mike Coffman has spent his life in service in country in the Army and the Marines, twice leaving office for duty in Iraq.”

From: Republican Mike Coffman

Fact check verdict from CBS4 from CBS4: True

The context: U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican, spent 21 years in the military and took a leave from the state legislature in 1990 for a tour in Iraq and then stepped down as state treasurer in 2005 for a second deployment. More here. Source: CBS4

Related: A Fox31 fact check found the same. More here.

Mike Coffman distorts Democrat Jason Crow’s career

The claim: “Jason Crow is a lawyer specializing in corruption. … Crooks and conmen, that’s who Jason Crow represents.”

From: Republican Mike Coffman

Fact check verdict from CBS4: Misleading

The context: Democrat Jason Crow is a lawyer at Holland & Hart, one of the largest law firms in Denver, but there’s no evidence to suggest he’s corrupt, as the ad suggests. Crow did represent businesses and executives who faced federal investigations. But those are not his only clients, and early in his career, he was assigned to those legal teams. He also received honors for his pro bono legal work.  More here. Source: CBS4

Related: A 9News fact check of similar advertising about Jason Crow’s legal career found it misleading. More here. And a Fox31 fact check said the same. More here.

MORE: Get to know Jason Crow, the Democrat running in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District

Environmental ad goes too far in attacking Mike Coffman

The claim: “Mike Coffman took over $800,000 from polluters … and voted to let them spew dangerous toxins into our air and water.”

From: League of Conservation Voters, in support of Democrat Jason Crow

Fact check verdict from CBS4: Misleading

The context: The TV ad refers to money U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman took from anyone or any business that is tied to oil and gas over the last decade. And his votes were those against tougher environmental regulations, such as proposals to limit carbon emissions. But he supports other environmental provisions. More here. Source: CBS4

Republican group can’t back up its claim against Jason Crow

The claim: “Meet Jason Crow another all talk, no action politician.”

From: Congressional Leadership Fund, in support of Mike Coffman

Fact check verdict from CBS4: Misleading

The context: This is Democrat Jason Crow’s first run for elected office, but he has been politically active and spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. The Republican group behind the claim also couldn’t support its claim.  More here. Source: CBS4

Related: A 9News fact check finds the same problem with the ad. More here. A Fox31 fact check found this false. More here.

Republicans’ attack on Jason Crow doesn’t add up

The claim: “Crow served on the Board of Veterans Affairs … while veterans suffered because of mismanagement at the VA.”

From: Congressional Leadership Fund, in support of Mike Coffman

Fact check verdict from CBS4: False

The context: Democrat Jason Crow served on a volunteer state board that helped veterans, but it has nothing to do with the scandals at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Crow also has advocated for veterans in various capacities. He received a Bronze Star for his own military service. More here. Source: CBS4

Related: A 9News fact check of similar advertising about Jason Crow’s work on the board found it misleading, again. More here and here. A Fox31 fact check found this misleading. More here.

Jason Crow’s absenteeism on veterans board becomes an issue

The claim: “Jason Crow didn’t show up for work. Skipping a third of the board’s meetings.”

From: Congressional Leadership Fund, in support of Mike Coffman

Fact check verdict from CBS4: True

The context: Democrat Jason Crow served on the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs, a volunteer position. In five years, he missed 17 of the 47 board meeting, the most of anyone on the board. Crow’s campaign notes that all but three absences were excused. More here. Source: CBS4

Related: A 9News fact check found Jason Crow missed 19 of the 51 meetings from September 2009 through April 2014. More here. A Fox31 fact check found this true. More here.

Mike Coffman’s ties to the gun lobby are clear in the money reports

The claim: Mike Coffman “has accepted more money from the NRA than any other member of Congress from Colorado.”

From: Gabby Giffords PAC, in support of Democrat Jason Crow

Fact check verdict from 9News: True

The context: U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, the Republican, has accepted $41,650 from the National Rifle Association’s political action committee since the 2008 election cycle. It is more than the other members of the Colorado delegation. More here. Source: 9News

MORE: Get to know U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, the Republican running for re-election in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District

Mike Coffman record on background checks is more complicated

The claim: “When it comes to background checks that stop criminals and the severely mentally ill from buying guns, he voted to weaken them.”

From: Giffords PAC, in support of Democrat Jason Crow:

Fact check verdict from 9News: Misleading

The context: Coffman cast two votes referenced in the advertisement. One attempted to keep a measure to strengthen the law from taking effect. Another kept a bill from being discussed. But neither weakened the current law. More here. Source: 9News

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