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Innovative? Or just plain weird?Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer is trying to sway national climate policy and the midterm elections with an ad campaign that is raising eyebrows among independent fact-checkers, some television stations, his political opponents and even a few allies -- using an approach that strikes observers as anywhere from groundbreaking to downright bizarre.In Iowa, Steyer's super PAC is attacking Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst with 60-second TV ads featuring a pair of cigar-chomping executives cackling in a darkened room, gleeful that an anti-tax pledge she signed will send jobs overseas. The fact-checking website PolitiFact labeled that ad "false," and fact-checkers have also found holes in Steyer-backed ads that accuse Florida Gov. Rick Scott of benefiting from oil drilling near the Everglades and letting a power company "fleece" its customers. Ernst and Scott have threatened legal action.
Bay Area billionaire Tom Steyer's blitz against candidates who are soft on climate change is underway in seven states, but some prominent fact-checking groups say he's emitting enough hot air to melt a few glaciers.Negative reviews from watchdogs like PolitiFact, FactCheck.org and the Washington Post are dogging one of the nation's biggest political donors, a former hedge fund manager who ditched his ties to fossil fuels and presented himself as a transparent antidote to the conservative Koch brothers' semi-clandestine funding network.