Campaign 2010

May 02, 2008

Second Deceptive Freedomís Watch Ad Pulled Off the Air

WAFB-TV, a Baton Rouge television station, pulled off the air Freedom’s Watch’s deceptive ad in the LA-06 special election.  Freedom’s Watch has run ads in two special elections this cycle, OH-05 and LA-06, and has had their false ads pulled from the air in each of the special elections.  As they prepare to run TV ads in the MS-01 special election, Freedom’s Watch and their Executive Vice President’s history of airing false and misleading advertisements should be taken into account.

 

“Freedom’s Watch has a track record of running ads that are so deceptive and misleading that local stations have to remove them from the airwaves,” said Jennifer Crider, Communications Director at the DCCC.  “Clearly, Freedom’s Watch realizes that they can’t win on the issues so they resort to deceptive and libelous attack ads to try to mislead voters.”

 

Background

 

  • A Freedom’s Watch ad was also pulled down in December 2007 by a local NBC station in OH-05, the only other special election it has advertised in so far this cycle. 

 

  •  
    • Freedom’s Watch typically claims its ads were pulled “for review,” however the ads are not being run by stations and don’t return to the airwaves.

 

  • Freedom’s Watch is being run by Executive Vice President Carl Forti, who ran the NRCC’s independent expenditure campaign last cycle.  According to the nonpartisan FactCheck.org, “Several of the NRCC’s ads are smears that twist facts or ignore them.” [Annenberg Fact Check, 10/27/06]

 

  •  
    • Republican candidates and objective observers called the NRCC, overseen by Forti, “a rogue attack shop,” responsible for “smears,” “over-the-top accusations,”  “demonstrably false” and “misleading” attacks and “political mudslinging.” 

 

  • On April 16, 2008, the DCCC filed an FEC complaint against Freedom’s Watch and the NRCC for illegal coordination of their attack ads. A script from one of Freedom’s Watch’s ads contained electronic identifiers linking it to the NRCC. The message, images, and citations in both the Freedom’s Watch ad and NRCC ad are nearly identical.

 

  • On April 23, 2008, the DCCC filed an FEC complaint for running a political attack ad that directly and illegally advocates the defeat of a Democratic candidate and also for failing to disclose the names of the donors funding that ad. 

 

  • On April 29, 2008, the DCCC requested the Internal Revenue Service investigate Freedom’s Watch.  Freedom’s Watch violated its tax exempt status by running political attack ads against Democratic candidate Don Cazayoux in the LA-06 special election, designed to benefit the NRCC and the Republican candidate.  Freedom’s Watch meets five of the six criteria the IRS uses to determine that a group is political – not a tax exempt 501(c)(4).