If you don't know the difference between a political ad about a candidate and a political ad about a candidate's position on an issue, we don't blame you.
American Action Network peppered you with the same ad 12 times Thursday on 9NEWS and dozens more times before that.
The ad told you to "Thank Congressman (Mike) Coffman for Passing Opioid Legislation."
American Action Network is a 501(c)4, which comes with tax benefits. To keep those benefits, the group must tread lightly in the political action arena.
The ads AAN have been running are in support of an issue, not a candidate. That makes a difference to Uncle Sam, but probably not so much to you when you see it.
Here is the script of the ad that just finished airing this week on 9NEWS. This is how it is word-for-word from the American Action News:
Lily: My slide in to addiction started five years ago.
I was only 18.
Thanks to the support of my family and an effective rehab program…
…I’ve been clean for almost two years.
But I am one of the lucky ones.
The opioid epidemic deserves more attention.
And that’s why Congress is working to combat this crisis.
I’m really grateful [member of Congress] is helping pass bipartisan solutions to save lives.
Call [member of Congress], tell [him/her] to keep fighting against opioid addiction.
It really said "member of Congress," not a specific name. Why? Because the ad aired in multiple markets, except with that section of the ad recorded with a different representative's name.
And, Lily Stroup, the woman portrayed in the ad, isn't from Colorado. She lives in Virginia, according to her Facebook page.
An ad that previously aired this summer also followed the same pattern.
KELLY: Our son began his journey to addiction in ninth grade.
After Joel tore his ACL, they gave him OxyContin.
This March, Joel died from a heroin overdose.
With all the arguing in Washington, the opioid epidemic hasn’t gotten enough attention.
But [member of Congress] is working with Republicans and Democrats to make a difference.
Call [member of Congress].
Thank [him/her] for fighting against opioid addiction.
There's that "member of Congress" again. Kelly Kocher, who was the narrator of that ad, is also not from Colorado. She lives in Ohio.
Neither ad made a specific claim about Coffman's record, other than to say he is working with Republicans and Democrats.
We did a quick check of his record.
By going to his Congressional website, we searched articles and news releases posted about health care. The fourth article was from December and talked about the "VA Care in the Community" Act.
The bill would give veterans better access to health care outside of the VA system. An amendment sponsored by Coffman would require those providers to follow a specific process when prescribing opioids to veterans and making sure that information was shared with the VA to put in the veteran's medical file.
That bill, which has Republican and Democratic support, is just sitting in Congress after having gone through one committee.
Another bill, the "Veterans Opioid Abuse Prevention Act" has made it through the House, and is now in the Senate. It also has bipartisan support and would allow providers to check a prescription drug monitoring database before prescribing opioids to a veteran.
BOTTOM LINE: The ad isn't making a specific claim other than to encourage you to support Coffman. Is he passing bipartisan solutions? Depends on how far you go back in his voting record. Based on the two we just highlighted, he's voted in favor of them, but they haven't passed yet. The claims are flimsy, but Coffman is making efforts to address the opioid crisis.