What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 22, 2005

Rick Santorum's First Campaign Ad!

The Other Political Junkie tells me that she recently caught a glimpse of a Santorum campaign ad on television.

How many months is this before the election?

I haven't seen it, but what the OPJ saw may have been the ad released by a group called "Americans for Job Security." The AP has the story here.
A group called Americans for Job Security is spending more than $450,000 to run an ad in support of Sen. Rick Santorum's 2006 re-election bid.

The ad, showing a family playing together in the park, credits Santorum, R-Pa., with helping to provide $300 billion in tax relief, eliminate the marriage penalty and increase the per-child tax credit.

"Pennsylvania families relax a little more these days because Rick Santorum is getting things done every day," the ad says.
But who are these "Americans for Job Security"? I did a little digging.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center says that:
Americans for Job Security, a “conservative group founded in part by insurance companies,” is politically active in promoting conservative candidates for national political races (Archibold 2003). The organization raises several million dollars each election cycle, and then spends the money on issue ads in key states with competitive races (Stone 2003). The group also takes stances on issues such as support for the abolishment of the estate tax. In 2004 the group ran four issue ads that opposed or supported individual Senators for their position on the abolishment of the estate tax.

As a 501(c)(6), a tax designation for business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, and boards of trade, Americans for Job Security “[are] not required to make public a list of its contributors” (Cillizza 2004), and as a result, the exact makeup of the organization is not known as they “refuse to disclose members or donors” (Edsall 2002). However, it is known that about “500 corporate and individual members help subsidize the organization with contributions that have been as high as $100,000” (Stone 2003).
While Andrew Wheat of the Texas Observer describes them as:
a shadowy Virginia-based group that the American Insurance Association helped launch in 1997 by supplying $1 million in seed money. AJS takes out attack ads against liberal and moderate candidates nationwide without disclosing its political contributions or expenditures. This track record of spending large quantities of undisclosed funds on attack ads has fostered the perception that AJS is a for-hire corporate attack dog.
The rest of Wheat's article, if true, poses something of a problem for lil Ricky.

It seems that Americans for Job security may be tied up with the whole Delay money laundering scandal. Public Citizen reported back in October of 2004 that:
Americans for Job Security [501(c)(6)] is under investigation by a Texas grand jury for potential violations of a law prohibiting the use of corporate money to influence state elections, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Prosecutors have been investigating AJS since a Texas watchdog group filed a criminal complaint in January alleging that corporate money was funneled through AJS to pay for attack ads against a state representative just days before a six-way special election.

At issue is whether the ads were intended to influence an election, which would make them subject to Texas election law, and whether they were funded with corporate money. AJS has refused to reveal its donors, which is its right as a Section 501(c) group.

The Texas representative attacked by AJS, Republican Tommy Merritt, last year opposed his own party’s redistricting plan that was being pushed through the legislature at the behest of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

Americans for Job Security argued that the ads attacking Merritt weren’t intended to influence the election but rather to further AJS’s promotion of "pro-paycheck issues."

Fred Lewis, president of Campaigns for People, the group that filed the complaint against AJS, said the attack ads were more likely retaliation for Merritt’s vote on redistricting. Lewis noted that AJS did not air its ads during the legislative session, when the bills were being debated, but rather in the closing days of an election campaign.
I haven't been able to track down the results of this investigation so if anyone knows anything about it, let me know.

The web gets a little complicated. Wheat points to a Rove protege named Terry Nelson and describes him as "an unindicted co-conspiritor who oversaw the alleged money laundering in Washington DC in 2002." Terry Nelson also works for a political consulting group called "Dawson McCarthy Nelson Media." Before that he worked for the Republican National Campaign Committee.

Among the clients of DMNM is the National Republican Senatorial Committee and you guessed it, Americans for Job Security.

So is it any wonder the "Americans for Job Security" a corporate-funded attack dog would be putting out ads in favor of Senator Man-on-Dog?


1 comment:

corporatemedia said...

His Pittsburgh ads say to call him at 412-562-0533 to tell him what you think!