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Why is there so much misinformation allowed in campaign ads?

A claim about the IRS is making an appearance in many ads nationwide.
Election 2022 New Hampshire Senate
Posted at 4:26 PM, Sep 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-30 16:26:40-04

WASHINGTON — It's estimated that over $6 billion will be spent nationwide on campaign ads this year.

That puts the 2022 midterm election on track to be the most expensive midterm ever.

With so many ads popping up, it's a good reminder not to believe everything you hear.

WHY MISINFORMATION CAN AIR

Remember, misinformation has been a part of campaigning for decades.

Why? Because it's allowed to exist.

A politician can purposely lie in an attack ad because the FCC, the Federal Communication Commission, does not regulate the truth in political commercials.

In fact, according to The Communications Act of 1934, broadcasters have "no power of censorship" over any "legally-qualified candidate."

Politicians are the only group this applies to.

A commercial on food, for instance, could not make up a claim about how it prevents disease.

CLAIMS ABOUT THE IRS

Because of the misinformation that often appears on tv during campaign season, it's important to look at various claims and provide in-depth reporting on major issues that arise.

For instance, one claim about the IRS is popping up in advertisements attacking Democrats.

The claim generally features a fake army of IRS agents and claims that 87,000 new IRS agents will be coming for you.

The claim is often repeated on social media too.

IMPORTANT CONTEXT

For one, Republicans aren't wrong — Democrats did increase funding to the IRS in recent weeks.

In fact, the Inflation Reduction Act allocated $80 billion over 10 years to the IRS, which became law with only Democratic votes.

However, what is misleading is how many commercials and even tweets on social media suggest the agents are going after you.

The truth is the IRS has a backlog of 8 million returns from 2021, and between 50,000 - 80,000 of its current workers will retire or depart over the next five years.

The new funding mainly goes to that. So yes, new agents will come in, but agents will also leave.

In fact, the Secretary of the Treasury recently wrote to the IRS commissioner ordering "households earning $400,000 per year or less or any small businesses will not see an increase in the chances that they are audited."

So remember, as we get closer to election day, you can pay attention to campaign ads but take their claims with a grain of salt.