FactCheck Says Delay Ad Isn't False

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The TV ad taking aim at former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Tex.) "strictly speaking" contains nothing false, though some claims are ambiguous and could be misleading.

That's according to FactCheck.org, the primarily Annenberg Foundation-funded monitor of the accuracy of claims made by politicians.

FactCheck said that a reference in the ad to a $1 million contribution from Russian tycoons was not false, as Delay's lawyer claimed. "The worst we can say of the ad" says the group,"is that its ambiguous wording could give casual viewers the impression that DeLay took $1 million directly, which isn't the case."

Belo's KHOU-TV Houston, for one, pulled the ad after it received a letter from DeLay's attorney that, while it did not overtly threaten a lawsuit, cited case law supporting a defamation suit by a candidate against a station and said that "because the ad is false, we demand that you refuse or otherwise cease airing the advertisement so as to avoid any legal liability," according to KHOU General Manager Peter Diaz.

The ad, which links DeLay to, among other things, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, is currently running on cable systems in Houston, according to a spokesman for the groups.

The Campaign for America's Future and Public Campaign Action Fund are trying to buy ad time in Texas and Ohio for spots targeting both DeLay and Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) launching what they say will be a year-long effort "to expose congressional corruption."