Factcheck.org Says Obama Ad Uses Incorrect Figure on Oil Donors

In his new TV ad in which he accuses Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., of being "in the pocket of big oil," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said that McCain's campaign took $2 million from "Big Oil."

"The truth is that McCain's campaign has received $1.33 million from individuals employed in the oil and gas industry, not $2 million," rules Factcheck.org. "We find the $2 million figure is based on a mistaken calculation."

The Obama campaign says it got its figures from the Center For Responsive Politics.

But CRP today said "It appears the Obama campaign is adding our data from January 2007 through May 2008 (our total then was about $1 million) to a total for June fundraising from oil/gas interests that was reported in the Washington Post on July 27. The Post reported that McCain and the Republican National Committee's Victory Fund raised $1.1 million in June alone from oil and gas executives."

The Victory Fund is a joint fundraising committee some of which goes to McCain, some to the Republican National Committee, and some to state parties. "Not all of the money the Victory Fund collects ends up in McCain's campaign account, although it's all intended to support his candidacy," says CRP. "So what's the bottom line? According to the Center for Responsive Politics -- that's us -- John McCain's campaign had collected $1.3 million from oil and gas interests through June. If you add in the money being collected by the Republican Party to support McCain's candidacy, the total figure could be $2 million, as Obama's campaign claims, or it could be a little less or a little more. But until the accounting is sorted out between the McCain campaign and the Victory Fund, we can't put a precise dollar figure on it."

So, in other words, that $2 million figure is hardly authoritative. Some might even call it bogus.

- jpt

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