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FactFinder 12: Who's behind false attack ad against Wichita mayoral candidate?

Published: Oct. 22, 2019 at 10:41 PM CDT
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Two weeks from tonight, we'll know who will lead Wichita as its next mayor. On the ballot, you'll see the names of incumbent Jeff Longwell and challenger Brandon Whipple. Lyndy Wells has a write-in campaign. If voters want him to be mayor, they'll have to write down his name on their ballots.

Ahead of the Nov. 5 election, you'll see a lot of information trying to sway your vote. Last week, Eyewitness News reported information about

We fact-checked the YouTube video and found the claims in it to be false.

However, on Tuesday, we noticed someone paid to boost the video's views on Facebook so more people will see it.

The allegations made in the video closely resemble those written about in a Kansas City Star article two years ago, and we spoke with the reporter who wrote that article. She confirms allegations in that article were made against a Republican senator at the state capitol in Topeka, not Whipple, who at the time, was a Democratic representative.

There is no immediate connection between Whipple and allegations made in the video. So, where did the video come from?

FactFinder 12 traced the group Protect Wichita Girls to an LLC registered in New Mexico with a mailing address in Wyoming belonging to a registered agent. The registered agent is a business that allows the true owners of an LLC to keep their names off the public record.

If that sounds complicated, it was likely engineered that way. So, what's the takeaway?

First, be wary of videos posted online as there is no oversight dictating that what's in those videos needs to be true. Also, anyone can produce and post them.

Secondly, do some research. The fact the allegations in the YouTube video, now shared on social media, have nothing to do with Brandon Whipple was easily confirmed with a Google search.

Last week,

saying his campaign is not responsible for it and he condemns the tactic and those who produced it.

Lyndy Wells also released the following statement condemning the video:

“I want to be 100% clear that neither I nor my campaign are behind the organization or video attacking my opponent. These kind of anonymous allegations are unfair and reprehensible. Tactics like these keep good people from running or working as public servants. They should be stopped immediately. I will never allow my campaign to participate in this kind of negative messaging.“