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Fact Check

The Medill Fact Check

The Fulcrum has partnered with the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications to co-publish students' fact-checks on public statements about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on civic engagement. The Fulcrum will also publish related stories, podcasts and videos in partnership with the journalism school, a part of Northwestern University.

The Covid-19 Analyzer includes an interactive database that allows users to research stories, public statements and social media reports for accuracy, listing them as true, mixed or false, accompanied by an explanation and links to further information.

The 13-member Politics, Policy and Foreign Affairs Reporting Project team is also producing an updated national scorecard on voting practices called the 2020 Election Tracker, with an interactive map of the 50 states' regulations for in-person and mail-in balloting, as well as candidate filing and voting deadlines.

Claim: Coronavirus relief package includes nearly $2 billion for new FBI headquarters. Fact check: True

A GOP-proposed, roughly $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes nearly $2 billion for a new FBI headquarters.

The new headquarters has been in the works for over a decade. Proponents of the funding say that the FBI has been helpful in fighting increased crime due to Covid-19 and cyber breaches against new vaccines. But opponents say the funding is not directly related to Covid-19 and that the Trump administration has something to gain by keeping the headquarters in downtown Washington, near a Trump hotel, rather than it's proposed move to a suburb of Maryland or Virginia.

And many Senate Republicans have uncharacteristically parted with the Trump administration to rebuke the request.

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Noam Galai/Getty Images

Claim: USPS is advising voters to send in ballots two weeks before Election Day. Fact check: Mixed

Tony Dokoupil, co-host of "CBS This Morning," tweeted this claim last week, and it has been picked up by many other Twitter and Instagram accounts. There have been multiple reports of an impending crisis regarding the ability of the United States Postal Service to process election mail this fall, as thousands of voters switch to absentee ballots amid the Covid-19 pandemic. An internal memo obtained by The Washington Post even warns of slowed-down mail delivery at the direction of the newly appointed postmaster general. This all comes amid President Trump's criticisms of the Postal Service, calling it a "joke" during a bill signing in April and demanding the agency increase package rates to stay competitive.

Martha Johnson, a USPS spokeswoman, wrote in an email that the "Postal Service is committed to delivering Election Mail in a timely manner."

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Government Ethics
Twitter

Claim: Ivanka Trump violated an ethics rule by promoting Goya products. Fact check: True.


White House adviser and presidential daughter Ivanka Trump posted a photo of herself holding a can of Goya black beans on Twitter last week, including the caption in both English and Spanish: "If it's Goya, it has to be good." The post came after intense criticism of the brand from consumers and Hispanic leaders after CEO Robert Unanue praised President Trump in a Rose Garden event. Unanue said the country is "truly blessed" to have a leader like Trump.

Trump later posted a similar image of him with an array of Goya products sitting on the Resolute Desk. Both of these posts were in direct response to the blowback from Unanue's statements.

Ivanka Trump likely violated a misuse of position ethics guideline that prohibits executive branch employees from using their status to endorse commercial products: "An employee's position or title should not be used to coerce; to endorse any product, service or enterprise; or to give the appearance of governmental sanction." The president is generally exempt from such rules.

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Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, asserted that because Ivanka has her official title in her Twitter bio, the endorsement and her executive branch position are strongly linked and make the violation more probable.

The advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) filed an ethics complaint against Ivanka on Friday. "This is not just about beans; it's another example of a disturbing pattern of this administration acting to benefit the businesses of the president's supporters," CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.