PolitiFact: Ad claiming $1.2 billion of stimulus money went to Mexico gets Pants on Fire rating

3:39 PM, May 10, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - You've probably seen a new commercial claiming the stimulus was a waste. It gives examples of how President Barack Obama sent money overseas, while Americans are out of work.

10 News reporter Allison Kropff teamed up with PolitiFact Florida to fact-check one of those examples.

In this new ad funded by the Super PAC Americans for Prosperity says those jobs went overseas to Mexico, Finland and China. For this fact-check we'll focus on this claim: "1.2 billion dollars to a solar company that's building a plant in Mexico."

"It's not a tax credit, but instead a loan guarantee that was made to a company in New Jersey for a solar plant in California, not in Mexico. So the money went to an American project, to an American company and the way a loan guarantee works is it's made to be paid back, not a gift," says Angie Holan with PolitiFact Florida.

The solar company, SunPower, does own a company in Mexico, but the money is attached to a California project. SunPower no longer owns that project, a New Jersey company does, along with the loan guarantee. The NJ company will be repaying taxpayers.

"It makes it sound like American dollars went to fund manufacturing in another country and that's not true, the money always did stay in the United States," says Holan.

Because this claim is so false, Holan says it received PolitiFact Florida's lowest rating!

"We gave it a 'Pants on Fire' because it's so misleading and it's so ridiculously false."

The other two claims in the commercial dealing with China and Finland will also be fact-checked. Look for those on 10 News soon.

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