Freedom's Watch has at least two robo calls out attacking Kay Hagan, one color glossy mailer attacking Kay Hagan and at least one television ad attacking Kay Hagan and about the only kernel of truth that can be found in any of them is when they state who funded the calls, mailers and ad. Of course, even that doesn't disclose the full truth since Freedom's Watch is funded in large part by Sheldon Aldelson, a gambling mogul who has padded his fortune developing massive gambling resorts in China.
“While Elizabeth Dole surely welcomes this group’s intervention on behalf of her flailing campaign, North Carolinians would be distressed to know that Sheldon Adelson makes his billions off of investments in China, a country that benefits greatly from trade deals while workers here pay the price,” Hagan Campaign Communications Director Colleen Flanagan said. “Adelson directly lobbied members of Congress, including disgraced Representative Tom Delay, on behalf of Chinese politicians and opened one of the largest casinos in the world in Macao. With those billions he’s funded Freedom’s Watch, whose staff is largely made up of former Bush White House staffers.”
Freedom's Watch must have spent close to a million dollars attacking Kay Hagan with lies and false accusations. They can't find much nice to say about Elizabeth Dole and they really can't find anything negative about Kay Hagan, so I guess they just decided to start making stuff up. The Hagan campaign decided to fight back, but instead of attacking Elizabeth Dole they went after the ads. From a letter directed to station managers from Kay Hagan's counsel:
First the advertisement falsely states that as co-chair of the senate budget committee, Ms. Hagan voted for "runaway deficits." The advertisement does not cite any source for this claim, and substantiation documents submitted to television stations in connection with this advertisement provide no basis or explanation for this statement. There is, in fact, no evidence of "runaway deficits."
Of course, this can be backed up with hard facts.
Freedom's Watch has responded. As we would expect they don't even try to provide facts to back up their argument.
....with specific regard to Ms. Keane's claim that FW's advertisement "falsely states that as co-chair of the senate budget committee, Ms. Hagan voted for 'runaway deficits'", it is very clear from a plain viewing of the advertisement to the fact that Sen. Hagan was the co-chair of the senate budget committee overseeing runaway deficits. The phrase "runaway deficits" is clearly used as a descriptive phrase to describe a range of economic problems facing North Carolina and North Carolinians to be read in context with "Record Spending, Desperate Economy" and there is absolutely no reference to Sen. Hagan voting for a deficit.
While Mr. Teague jumps through hoops and parses words, we'll make it a bit easier for him. All that twisting and turning of the truth could cause injury. Freedom's Watch's ad falsely states that there are runaway deficits in North Carolina. North Carolina has no deficit. Freedom's Watch links those fictional, non-existent "runaway deficits" to Kay Hagan who was co-chair of the senate budget committee. The ad's claim and its subsequent implications, assertions and statements are false.
Mr. Teague also gets Freedom's Watch into a bit of trouble by admitting the ad is a criticism of Kay Hagan.
In their effort to generate some basis to stamp out criticism, Hagan Senate Committee's complaint merely misrepresents the nature of this advertisement and the statements included therein.
Is Mr. Teague admitting that this is criticism directed at a candidate? Does issue advocacy allow for the direct or indirect criticism of a candidate? Isn't Freedom's Watch supposed to stick to advocating for an issue and not against a candidate? Am I missing something here?
Oh, I'm well aware of the law. It is a very clear line. According to federal law, Freedom's Watch can claim it is issue advocacy as long as it doesn't say "vote for Candidate A, don't vote for Candidate B". That is the letter of the law.
Sometimes, though, we have to look at the spirit of the law. Ask yourself why Freedom's Watch would get involved and it is easy to determine their intent. They want to defeat Kay Hagan and elect Elizabeth Dole. That is not issue advocacy.
We might not have Sheldon Adelson's billions of dollars from his massive gambling resorts in China, but we do have phones and computers. We also have a responsibility to help Freedom's Watch tell the truth. In this case, that means keeping this ad off the air. In the comments below you will find the names and numbers of station managers throughout North Carolina. We will be adding them throughout the day. Please help us reach out to these folks to encourage them to take these dishonest ads off the air. Also, if you have contact information for a station in your market, please add it in the comments below. Thank you, for helping us help keep Freedom's Watch honest.