New SuperPAC Ad Full of Footage Group Said They Couldn’t Legally Obtain
Similar 2010 ad resulted in FEC investigation, still pending
Posted by ProgressNowNM, June 7, 2012
It’s not often you see a positive ad from the conservative Super PAC American Crossroads. The group, led by former George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove is notorious for “swiftboating” John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign and for countless similar ads since. Independent expenditure groups mostly focus on negative ads against opponents, says American Crossroads President and CEO Steven Law, because “we can’t coordinate… and, of course, we don’t have original footage, which I think is the key issue that drives the success of a positive ad.”
But their latest ad, “Vision,” hitting New Mexico airwaves this week is a notable
exception. The ad is 100% pro-Heather Wilson. That should come as no surprise given that Wilson served on the board of American Crossroads with Karl Rove after her defeat in New Mexico’s first congressional district in 2010.
The new ad also raises a big question:
How did American Crossroads obtain all of that great “face to the camera” footage of Wilson without coordinating?
With a quick search in WilsonWatch.org, the online catalog of campaign archives and news reports about Heather Wilson, ProgressNow NM found that some of the footage appeared in campaign ads (here and here) from Wilson’s failed 2008 senate campaign.
However, not all of it is available in the public domain. Instead, the new 2012 SuperPAC ad is cut from the same raw footage as Wilson’s campaign ad.
These tactics have landed American Crossroads in legal trouble before:
When American Crossroads ran a positive ad for Rob Portman’s 2010 Senate race in Ohio, the state Democratic Party filed an FEC complaint. The complaint has yet to be resolved, though it shook up the donors at groups like American Action Network.
“All of the sudden, our donors started to pull back and say, ‘Are you sure this is all legal?” says [Rob] Collins, who was then president of [American Action Network, a conservative advocacy group].
In 2011, American Crossroads’ own president and CEO said groups like his could not legally obtain the pro-candidate style footage they needed to produce these ads.
For Rove ally and their former board member, they appear to have changed their minds.
It’s hard to believe that Karl Rove and his SuperPAC team, which for sometime included Heather Wilson, are not coordinating with the Wilson campaign. Rove headlined a fundraiser for Wilson in 2011 and Wilson’s own campaign footage is now appearing in Rove’s “independent” political ad.
Karl Rove and American Crossroads entered a bold new frontier of positive ads supporting their former board member. Together with Rove, Wilson helped raise outside money and decide who to attack in previous races. Now they are returning the favor.
And this wouldn’t be the first time Wilson and Rove teamed up to circumvent spirit of the law. Rove told a House Judiciary Committee that “Wilson pushed the White House to fire New Mexico’s then-U.S. attorney, David Iglesias, before the Nov. 2006 election because he wasn’t moving fast enough on a corruption case involving New Mexico Democrats.”
But if Law says outside groups can’t get original positive footage without crossing the coordination line, then American Crossroads and Wilson owe an explanation.