PoliGraph: McFadden’s claims about Franken ad accurate

poligraph-accurateIt starts to feel a little like the Twilight Zone when PoliGraph fact-checks a fact-check.

But when Mike McFadden, who is seeking the GOP party’s endorsement to challenge Sen. Al Franken in the general election, sent out a fact-check challenging Franken’s first ad of the campaign season, we couldn’t resist.

Franken’s ad features a local business owner and touts Franken’s efforts to train workers for more technologically demanding jobs.

Here’s what McFadden’s press release said:

“The ad highlights Franken’s ‘Community College to Career Fund Act,’ a bill that hasn’t received a single hearing in the Democrat led Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.”

It goes on to say:

“The ‘Workforce Investment Act of 2013,’ which includes similar language to Franken’s bill, has yet to receive a vote on the Senate floor.”

There’s truth to McFadden’s claims, but they also deserve context.

The Evidence

Franken’s ad feature’s Top Tool owner Elizabeth Abraham, who said that “today, we’re having a hard time finding skilled workers.”

“[Franken] is working to connect community colleges with manufacturers, to help businesses to fill the high-skilled jobs open right now,” Abraham said.

While workforce development isn’t one of Franken’s more high profile issues, it’s something he has been vocal on in the past.

McFadden says Franken’s legislative efforts so far haven’t gone far in the Senate, and he’s correct.

The Community College to Career Fund Act, which would provide job training grants, is sitting in a Senate committee.

Nevertheless, Franken successfully had a similar proposal added to a broader bill aimed at improving the workforce. That bipartisan bill called the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 still hasn’t come up for debate on the Senate floor.

But this isn’t an unusual situation. Every year, hundreds of bills never make it to the Senate floor let alone out of committee.

UPDATE: Franken spokesperson Alexandra Fetissoff said the ad is meant to highlight something Franken is currently working on.

“Sen. Franken knows that the skills gap is posing a significant problem for Minnesota businesses, and that closing the gap means more Minnesotans will be employed, which is why he’s working to pass the bill—that’s the whole point of the ad,” she wrote in an email. “There will be plenty of time to talk about the things Sen. Franken has accomplished in this campaign – and we will do that—but Minnesotans need to know what he is working on now and will continue to work on if elected to a second term.”

The Verdict

McFadden’s claim is accurate.


Sen. Franken and State of the Union guest discuss workforce development before tonight’s address, Jan. 28, 2014

Tom Erickson, spokesperson, Mike McFadden for Senate

Alexandra Fetissoff, spokesperson, Al Franken for Senate

  • MinnesotaCentral

    Did you Fact Check the original ad ?

    I watched it again and heard a business owner complaining about a problem – the lack of trained skilled workers — commended Al Franken for listening. No one said that the bill was enacted … it said he was working on it.

    The skills gap is a major problem … I believe that Governor Dayton held a summit in October 2011. Down here in Mankato, we’ve had events to encourage people to get the training.

    President Obama announced in April that South Central College (Mankato and Faribault campuses) would be getting grant monies for these types of programs.

    IMO, the reason why Franken’s The Community College to Career Act

    has not been enacted is because of Republicans obstructinism. There is agreement that the current system is not working, and President Obama’s budgets have reflected consolidating programs, but Congress cannot get it’s act together.

    As far as I am concerned, as an independent voter, I would like to know if Senator McFadden was given a vote on the The Community College to Career Act, would he vote yes or no. It’s a good bill and Senator Franken should be commended for pushing it … and candidate McFadden should be condemned for questioning it.
    McFadden is coming across as someone that just wants to obstruct and we do not need any more like that in Washington.