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WUSF News Staff
Thu April 12, 2012
Allen West Gets "Pants on Fire" Ruling for Calling Progressive Democrats Communists
It was a statement so outrageous, a lot of people thought Congressman Allen West was joking.
At a recent town hall meeting, West said, "I believe its about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party are members of the Communist Party."
A little later, he said he was referring to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a group of representatives that focuses on civil rights, social justice other liberal causes.
"Pants on Fire!" says PolitiFact Florida.
In an interview with WUSF, PolitiFact's Angie Holan says the Communist Party has spoken positively about the Progressive Caucus as its ally, but that doesn't make all its members card-carrying Communists.
"It's a guilt-by-association sort of charge," she said.
West himself partnered with U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich -- a liberal Democrat from Ohio -- on a resolution calling for withdrawing from Libya.
"That doesn’t make West a Democrat," Holan said.
PolitiFact took the extra step of checking with the Community Party in the U.S., just in case, and nope -- no Congressional Democrats are members.
Holan says it is unusual for a sitting member of Congress to say something that turns out to be so completely untrue.
"I was surprised when we started looking into these comments from Congressman West to find we have fact-checked this several times before," she said. "But the statements have usually come from bloggers.
"This statement started on the blogoshpere...and now, it's something a member of Congress is saying."
See Rep. Allen West make the comments about Communists in Congress: