Facts Or Fiction: Viagra For Rapists?

Political Ad Claims Congressman Voted To Allow Rapists Access To Erectile Dysfunction Drug

Leading up to the November election, 7NEWS and TheDenverChannel.com will check the accuracy of political ads.

Do the ads contain facts or fiction?

7NEWS checked the "facts or fiction" of a political ad paid for by American Action Network. It suggests Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., voted to allow rapists access to Viagra.

AD: Woman talking off camera (Woman #1): "Hey, what's up."

Woman talking via Web camera (Woman #2): "Hey, you have to check out the article I just sent you. Apparently, convicted rapists can get Viagra paid for by the new health care bill."

Woman #1: "Are you serious?"

Woman #2: "Yep. I mean, Viagra for rapists? With my tax dollars? And Congressman Perlmutter voted for it."

Woman #1: "Perlmutter voted for it?"

Woman #2: "Yep. I mean, what is going on in Washington?"

Woman #1: "We need to tell Perlmutter to repeal it in November. American Action Network is responsible for the content of this advertising."

FICTION: Perlmutter did not vote for a bill to allow rapists access to Viagra. Perlmutter did vote in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was the national health care bill that became law on March 23, 2010.

It's not specified within the 906 pages of the law that rapists would have access to Viagra or any other erectile dysfunction drug. As a matter of fact, the law doesn't address that topic at all. However, the law will treat all Americans who have access to health coverage the same. If a convicted sex offender is no longer in prison and has health coverage, it could be possible for that person to be prescribed an erectile dysfunction drug.

On March 24, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Texas, sponsored an amendment in the Senate to specifically prevent convicted sex offenders from accessing erectile dysfunction drugs. That amendment failed in the Senate. Perlmutter is a representative, not a senator, and therefore did not vote on that amendment.

The political ad is also not exclusive to Colorado. 7NEWS discovered that the same ad is airing in Nevada, making the same claim against Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev.

American Action Network is a 501(c)4. That type of nonprofit is not required to disclose who donates to its group. According to its website, American Action Network promotes, "center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government, American exceptionalism, and strong national security. The American Action Network’s primary goal is to put our center-right ideas into action by engaging the hearts and minds of the American people and spurring them into active participation in our democracy."

The Chairman of American Action Network is Frederic Malek. Based on his biography, he was campaign manager for President George Bush in 1992, and served as national finance chairman for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008.