PolitiFact, which has been accused of its share of anti-Republican bias, just ruled that a TV advertisement against Adam Laxalt — Nevada's GOP gubernatorial nominee — is "false."
The fact-checking outfit said Monday that the Nevada chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ran a TV ad in the Las Vegas and Reno markets that "skewered" Laxalt — the state's attorney general.
What did the ad say?
PolitiFact said Nevada passed a 2017 law to help cap rising diabetes drug prices and that two major pharmaceutical trade groups sued to block it. Laxalt’s AG office has been defending the measure, PolitiFact noted — but the AFSCME ad said he "sold us out."
"After a drug company threw a fundraiser, Laxalt tried to cut a deal with big pharma instead of standing up for us, and drug prices continue to rise," the ad said. "Adam Laxalt delivered for drug companies, not for us."
More from PolitiFact:
Legally, it is premature to say Laxalt delivered for anybody, because both sides are waiting for a judge to rule. In the same vein, the law won’t fully kick in until Jan. 15, 2019, so it is too early to fault it for not controlling drug prices.
That leaves whether Laxalt "tried to cut a deal with big pharma" as the key claim to check.
AFSCME sent us their supporting evidence. It was a September court filing that said the two sides had failed to settle before bringing the matter before a judge. (The defendant in the case is Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. The plaintiffs are the drug trade associations Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and Biotechnology Innovation Organization.)
"The parties’ counsel discussed a potential resolution to avoid this motion," the filing said, PolitiFact reported. "But on Sept. 12, 2017, defendants’ counsel advised that defendant Sandoval would prefer that plaintiffs proceed with the filing of a motion."
PolitiFact asserted that, in AFSCME's estimation, the discussion of a "resolution" meant an attempt to cut a deal — but that such a conclusion is far fetched.
"That sort of phrasing is common in these filings," University of Nevada law professor Thomas Main told PolitiFact. "I wouldn't read much, or anything, into that alone."
What else did PolitiFact say about the ad?
PolitiFact also said the AFSCME ad "puts Laxalt at the center of the discussions with the drug trade groups. Actually, he left that to others in his office." The outfit added that Laxalt officials said he hadn't participated nor was he on phone calls with drug company lawyers.
"That further undercuts the assertion that he tried to cut a deal," PolitiFact reported.
PolitiFact said "the only evidence that Laxalt’s office attempted to settle a suit brought by drug trade groups is a court filing that certifies that the parties failed to come to terms."
More from the fact-checking outfit:
That interpretation ignores that court rules require the parties to see if they can settle out of court, and to certify that they tried and and failed. The ad puts far too much weight on legal boilerplate, a Nevada law professor said.
On top of that, Laxalt did not personally participate in those early discussions between his office and the drug makers’ lawyers.
We rate this claim False.
What did Laxalt's campaign have to say about the PolitiFact ruling?
TheBlaze on Tuesday reached out to Laxalt's campaign for comment on the PolitiFact verdict but didn't immediately receive a reply.