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Reality Check: Johnson Ad About Sending Jobs Overseas Is Misleading

Published On: Oct 19 2010 05:28:27 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 20 2010 07:27:07 AM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

WISC-TV is continuing its We the People Wisconsin Fact Finder reports with a look at an ad in the U.S. Senate race about sending jobs overseas.

China plays a central role in an ominous ad from Republican candidate Ron Johnson, who is running against incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold.

"Feingold voted the party line for the stimulus bill that allowed our tax dollars to go to foreign companies to create manufacturing jobs overseas," says a narrator in the ad, as news items flash across the screen.

A WISC-TV analysis found this is misleading.

Johnson points to a project planned for Texas, where a Chinese company would build wind turbines in China and install them in Texas. U.S. investors originally said they may apply for stimulus funds, but so far, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, they haven't.

Plus, the same companies announced this spring they would build a factory in Nevada for the Texas wind turbines, creating 1,000 jobs near Las Vegas.

But, according to an Investigative Reporting Workshop report, money has gone to American subsidiaries of foreign companies to do wind energy work. The report said that of $4.4 billion in wind energy stimulus funds, 54 percent has gone to foreign-owned developers, but none of them was based in China.

"Democrat senators said the bill will create 3,000 jobs in China alone," says the ad.

A WISC-TV analysis found this is misleading, because it gets the timeline wrong. It assumes those who voted on the stimulus bill knew this was going to happen, which they likely didn't. And when some Democratic lawmakers discovered the loophole, they tried to introduce legislation to close it, although that measure died in committee.

WISC-TV tried to ask the companies involved if they planned to pursue stimulus funds for the project in Texas, where work is starting this week, but the calls were not returned.

If you have claim or a question you'd like our Fact Finder team to check out, please send it to us at question@wtpeople.com.

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