NRCC Doesn't Leave 'Space' For The Truth

October 27, 2010 8:05 pm ET

In a new ad, the NRCC uses a quote from 2006 to suggest Rep. Zach Space is out of touch with economic hardships in 2010.  It's an especially dirty trick since unemployment in Ohio was dropping in 2006.   The ad immediately ups the misinformation ante by claiming that the "failed" stimulus "created renewable energy jobs in China."  Not surprisingly, this statement is also a distortion of the facts.  The Recovery Act boosted the economy and created millions of American jobs — not "jobs in China."

NRCC: "Zach Space's Economic Record"

[Rep. Space, 2006:] "Unemployment is not a problem in Southeastern Ohio."  Since Zach Space said that, we've lost nearly 290 thousand jobs.  Unemployment has gone up in each county and the failed stimulus he supported created renewable energy jobs in China and lots of debt back here. [Rep. Space, 2006:] "Unemployment is not a problem in Southeastern Ohio." But it is for us.  Zach Space.  It's time to change Washington: one 'Space' at a time.  The National Republican Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Space Quote From 2006 When Unemployment Rates Were Dropping Statewide

Space Quote Is From 2006.  According to the Columbus Post Dispatch:  "The audio of Space saying 'Unemployment is not a problem in southeastern Ohio' is from a March 2006 interview Space did with a group of bloggers. Space went on to win his seat in the fall." [Columbus Post Dispatch, 10/25/10]

At The Time Of Space's Comments, Unemployment Rates Were Dropping Statewide.  According to the Columbus Post Dispatch:  "At the time unemployment rates were dropping statewide and in southeastern Ohio, though rates remained higher there than the statewide average. It was also a time when Democrats were campaigning to raise the minimum wage, which is what Space says he was focusing on in that comment." [Columbus Post Dispatch, 10/25/10]

Columbus, OH Newspaper: GOP Talks About Job Losses Since 2006 But Ohio Lost Many Thousands More Jobs Since Republicans Took Power In 2000.  According to the Columbus Post Dispatch: "The problem of lost Ohio jobs over the past four years, with Democrats in charge of Congress and the Ohio governor's mansion since 2006 election wins, is a common GOP line of attack. But Ohio has lost more than 568,000 jobs since 2000, and it was Republicans in charge, for the most part, in Washington and at the Ohio Statehouse, between 2000-06. The issue of the stimulus package, which is unpopular with many voters, also is a much debated one this fall. Republicans say the spending didn't do nearly enough to lower unemployment. Mark Zandi, an advisor to Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008, has agreed with Democrats' claims that the stimulus package saved up to 3 million jobs. also has called claims the stimulus didn't create jobs bogus." [Columbus Post Dispatch, 10/25/10; emphasis added]

Stimulus Funds Go To U.S.-Based Projects, Creating U.S. Jobs

To back up its claim that the stimulus created jobs overseas, the NRCC cites a Washington Times article which in turn cites a study conducted by American University that has been widely distorted to contend that the stimulus' clean energy grants went to create jobs in China and other countries. However, the author himself states that the Recovery Act provides funding to U.S.-based projects, some of which are American subsidiaries of foreign companies.

Controversy Over Renewable Energy Jobs Originates From Distortion Of American University Study. From a PolitiFact article fact-checking Sarah Palin's claim that "80 percent of $2 billion they spent on alternative energy went to purchase wind turbines in China," which it found to be false: "To support her statement, Palin's Facebook missive links to a Feb. 11, 2010, op-ed in Investor's Business Daily, a conservative news source. The editorial states that, according to the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, nearly $2 billion from the stimulus bill has been spent on wind power, and that 80 percent of that has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines. ... The Investigative Reporting Workshop's story on stimulus dollars and the wind industry came in two parts. In October 2009, it published its first analysis. The group found that of the $1.05 billion in clean-energy grants already handed out by the Department of Energy, about 84 percent -- or $849 million -- ended up in the hands of foreign wind companies. ... On Feb. 8, 2010, [the author of the study Russ] Choma updated his original findings, reporting that an additional $1 billion had been handed out in renewable energy grants, bringing the grand total to $2.1 billion. Of that, about 79 percent has gone to overseas firms." [, 2/23/10]

Study's Author: Renewable Energy Stimulus Grants Go To U.S.-Based Projects, Some Built By American Subsidiaries Of Foreign-Owned Companies. From PolitiFact:

We spoke with Russ Choma, the story's author, who explained that these grants are given to U.S.-based wind projects, but that many of these projects are being built by the American subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies. For instance, on Sept. 22, 2009, the DOE awarded $464.2 million to wind projects, and all of it went to local subsidiaries of foreign companies, according to the report. Those companies include Iberdrola, a Spanish company that received $250.9 million; the American subsidiary of Japan's Eurus Energy, which got $91.3 million; and the American subsidiary of Germany's E.ON Group, which received $121.9 million. 

Choma also points out that the wind turbine manufacturing industry in the United States is relatively weak compared to those abroad; of the 1,807 turbines erected in the United States as a result of the stimulus grants, foreign-owned manufacturers made 1,219, according to the report. 

[, 2/23/10, emphasis added]

PolitiFact: No Stimulus Money Has Gone To Chinese Turbine Manufacturers. From a PolitiFact article fact-checking Sarah Palin's claim that "80 percent of $2 billion they spent on alternative energy went to purchase wind turbines in China":

Aside from that, Palin -- and the IBD editorial -- misrepresented Choma's story in a number of ways. First, while Choma found that many of the grants given so far have been for wind projects -- and that many of those projects are being developed by the American subsidiaries of foreign companies -- the 79 percent of the $2.1 billion he cites in his story (Palin's rounded that number up to 80 percent) is the amount that has gone overseas for all renewable energy projects, not just wind projects. Choma shared his data with us, and it shows that, as of February 2010, only 73 percent has gone to foreign companies involved in wind projects. The rest of that 79 percent has gone to geothermal projects. And, more importantly, says Choma, none of these American subsidiaries is owned by Chinese companies. While the Texas deal may eventually shuttle some stimulus dollars to China through the purchase of turbines, the deal is still in the works. So, it's incorrect to say that any stimulus money has gone to Chinese turbine manufacturers, let alone 80 percent of the $2 billion spent on renewable energy projects.

[, 2/23/10, emphasis added]

Further Confusion Over Study Came From Letter From Senators. From the New York Times:

Four Democratic senators are calling on the Obama administration to halt spending on a renewable energy program in the economic stimulus package until rules are in place to assure that the projects use predominantly American labor and materials.

The senators said that more than three-fourths of $2 billion spent on wind-energy projects supported by the stimulus package had gone to foreign companies. They said that effectively undercut the purpose of the stimulus program - formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - which is to jump-start the American economy and create jobs here.


The senators introduced legislation on Wednesday that would require that stimulus funds go only to clean-energy projects that rely on materials manufactured in the United States and create a majority of jobs here. The current law requires a "Buy American" provision only for government projects, not private enterprises.

[New York Times3/3/10]

Department Of Energy: Funding Only Goes To Projects Built In US. From Politico: "But the Department of Energy responded Wednesday afternoon, saying that the senators' message was misleading and that funding goes only to projects built in the United States and that those projects, in turn, spur economic growth. They say wind turbines built domestically - regardless of where some of the parts are manufactured - will create more demand for clean-energy manufacturing." [Politico3/3/10]

Department of Energy: Wind Energy Program Creates Thousands Of American Jobs And Attracts Billions In Foreign Investment. From the New York Times:

The Treasury Department declined to comment on the senators' letter, but the Energy Department, which administers the clean energy part of the stimulus package, said that the program was creating thousands of jobs in the United States.

"The Recovery Act has doubled the pace of investment in America's wind industry - including helping attract more than $10 billion of foreign investment to create U.S. jobs," Stephanie Mueller, news media secretary at the Energy Department, said. "The best way to stimulate our manufacturing base is to stimulate demand for wind turbines in America, since manufacturers tend to locate where the demand is."

She added that the administration would work with Congress to strengthen the clean-energy grants program, but said that suspending it now would mean immediate layoffs at American manufacturing plants.

[New York Times3/3/10]

Ohio Unemployment Rates Falling Since Obama Policies Took Affect

President Obama's Policies Did Not Affect The Economy Until July 2009. According to economist Robert J. Shapiro: "From December 2007 to July 2009 - the last year of the Bush second term and the first six months of the Obama presidency, before his policies could affect the economy - private sector employment crashed from 115,574,000 jobs to 107,778,000 jobs." [, 8/10/10]

Ohio Unemployment Has FALLEN By 7 Percent Since July 2009. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio had seasonally-adjusted unemployment of 635,765 in July 2009, and 590,809 in September 2010, approximately a 7 percent drop. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed 10/14/10]

Ohio's Unemployment Rate Has DECREASED By About 0.6 Percentage Points Since July 2009. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in July 2009 was 10.6 percent. In September 2010, the latest data available, the preliminary unemployment rate was 10.0 percent. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed 10/14/10]