A new ad by a Republican super PAC implies the Democratic Senate candidate accepted $1 billion in 'dark money' for his campaign. It never happened.
A new TV ad is slamming Jon Ossoff, who is running against incumbent Republican David Perdue for a Georgia Senate seat, with the misleading suggestion that he's accepted $1 billion in "dark money" from "liberal megadonors" for his campaign.
The problem is that it's just not true.
Attack ads against Ossoff are ramping up his opponents' false claims after neither candidate for the Georgia Senate seat managed to win a majority vote in the general election on Nov. 3.
Ossoff is set to again face off against Perdue in the state's runoff election held Jan. 5.
The new ad by the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC, claims that "liberal megadonors" are supporting Ossoff with "untold millions in dark money."
The words "$1 billion in political spending" flit across the screen, citing in smaller print a MarketWatch radio interview as a source.
According to Factcheck.org, a shortened 15-second version of the ad makes the implication — that Ossoff has accepted $1 billion in 'dark money' donations — more clear with an arrow pointing directly from the text toward Ossoff.
But the ad's implications are totally false.
As Factcheck.org points out, the $1 billion figure refers to the total spending in both of Georgia's two runoff races — Ossoff and Perdue's, but also Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-GA) race against the Rev. Raphael Warnock.
The outlet notes that Federal Election Commission has revealed that more "dark money" has been spent by Republicans to support Perdue's campaign than Ossoff's.
And a vast sum of "gray money" — money donated from dark money outlets to more transparent super PACs — has been spent on Perdue's campaign.
According to research from the Center for Responsive Politics, $47.9 million of $49 million in gray money spent on Perdue's Senate race came from the Senate Leadership Fund — the same Republican super PAC that created the Ossoff attack ad.
By contrast, left-wing super PACs have only spent $33.6 million in support of Ossoff's campaign.
This ad is just the latest in a long line of controversial attack ads by Republicans that spread disinformation about Ossoff.
The Washington Post notes that GOP anti-Ossoff ads in Georgia have repeatedly accused Ossoff of being a socialist (he isn't) and that he supports defunding the police (he doesn't).
A recent racist and antisemitic ad by Perdue's campaign used offensive tropes to attack Democratic Jews and people of color, including Ossoff, who is Jewish.
The ad freely implies that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is also Jewish, is part of a secret cabal of powerful Jews controlling Ossoff.
In a now-infamous ad that was later taken down, a Perdue ad also enlarged Ossoff's nose in an image — an offensive antisemitic attack — before again invoking the false and offensive trope that Schumer controls Ossoff behind the scenes.
And in August, the Ossoff campaign fact-checked a Republican campaign ad for Perdue that falsely claimed Perdue has always supported protections for preexisting conditions.
"Perdue's campaign has Ossoff's campaign has voted multiple times to gut protections for those with preexisting conditions and kick hundreds of thousands of Georgians off their health insurance," Ossoff responded to the ad.
Ossoff has also memorably fired back at some of the GOP's attack ads in the past.
"Sitting U.S. Senator David Perdue's digital attack ad distorted my face to enlarge and extend my nose. I'm Jewish," Ossoff responded on Twitter to the ad in which his nose was enlarged. "This is the oldest, most obvious, least original anti-Semitic trope in history. Senator, literally no one believes your excuses."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.