Truthsquad on Money and Politics
President Obama's choice to be the government's chief budget officer received a bonus of more than $900,000 from Citigroup Inc. last year -- after the Wall Street firm for which he worked received a massive taxpayer bailout.
Jim McElhatton, The Washington Times on Citigroup bonus

Editor Findings

  • Truthsquadeditoricon_thumb
    Based on new evidence, we have amended our verdict to conclude that this statement is "True" (instead of "Half True", as reported earlier). Thanks to Jim McElhatton, the author of the story in the Washington Times, we were able to verify the accuracy of the reported figure of $944,578 received by Jacob Lew as discretionary cash compensation from Citigroup, based on Lew's 2009 Public Financial Disclosure Report (SF278), dated 5/14/10.

    Prior to communicating with McElhatton, the only document we could find to support the story's claim was Lew's 2008 Public Financial Disclosure Report, filed 1/11/09, linked from a blog post in Foreign Policy. The 2008 filing confirms that the payment is pending, but it does not state the amount. An unnamed State Department source for the Foreign Policy article says Lew "just didn't know the amount at that time."

    This case is a good example of the strengths and weaknesses of community fact-checking. McElhatton had done the legwork to obtain this document and published the story as an exclusive. Consequently, our community was only able to find sources that cited McElhatton's story, plus one that linked to the 2008 ethics document, which was helpful but ultimately inconclusive.

    In our original post, we stated that "if new facts emerge to confirm the amount of Lew's payment, we will amend our verdict." Fortunately, with the help of the author, we were able to verify that the statement published in the Washington Times is in fact true. We regret any inconvenience which our preliminary verdict may have caused.

    -- Jon Mitchell on behalf of the Truthsquad editors

Community Findings

Mostly True (3.8)