Writing to campaign supporters on April 17, former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou bragged that “100% of the donations I received last quarter were from individual hard-working Americans like you who believe that we need to change our government.”
The Republican, who is seeking to retake the 1st Congressional Seat held by Democrat Colleen Hanabusa, observed that his opponent “has taken over $284,000 in special interest group money” from political action committees affiliated with unions and big business.
“We can’t continue to do the same thing and expect a different result,” Djou declared in the email. “If we want elected officials who aren’t beholden to special interests, we have to elect people who aren’t in the pocket of special interests.”
Is it true that Djou took no PAC money from Jan. 1 through March 31 of this year? And that Hanabusa’s war chest is chock full of PAC donations?
The answer to the first question is “yes” — Djou received no money from PACs in the first quarter, according to his FEC filing.
The answer to the second questions is also “yes” — according to OpenSecrets.org, Hanabusa has received $284,000 in PAC money during the 2012 election cycle, or about 36 percent of her total fundraising.
But Djou is not telling the whole picture.
OpenSecrets.org reports that Djou has accepted $19,300 in PAC contributions during the 2012 cycle, or 8 percent of his total fundraising haul.
In the 2010 election cycle, meanwhile, Djou received $717,000 in PAC money, or 27 percent of the total money he raised. That compares with $670,000 — or 28 percent — of Hanabusa’s fundraising during the same period.
It’s also important to note that Djou was deployed with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan for most of the first quarter of 2012 and so could not directly raise money for his House race.
BOTTOM LINE: We’ll give Djou a Mostly True rating — “The facts support the claim, but it is missing important information or is slightly misleading.”
But it seems fair to say that Djou is being more that just “slightly misleading” when it comes to his insinuation that Hanabusa is in the pocket of special interests because she has accepted PAC money. Djou has taken plenty of it too, just not in the period between Jan. 1 and March 31.
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