In response to a giant new anti-stimulus ad campaign by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, Democratic organizations and candidates will press their Republican opponents to “refudiate” the group, implying that acceptance of support from AfP amounts to support for outsourcing and other unpopular business practices. Although the ads would likely have been allowable before the Citizens United decision, Democrats warn that it’s just part of the new, unregulated campaign finance future.
“Republican congressional candidates owe it to voters to denounce these shadowy Right Wing front groups like Americans for Prosperity and demand they stay out of their districts unless they disclose their donor list,” reads a statement to TPM from DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer, “If they refuse to do so, they are sending a message to voters loud and clear – they stand firmly on the side of these shady Washington front groups and their Right Wing agenda of outsourcing American jobs overseas and allowing foreign corporations like British Petroleum or Huge Chavez’s Citgo to influence American elections.”At $4.1 million, the AfP buy is one of the biggest of the summer, targeting nearly two dozen Democrats in 11 states. The segment only implicitly targets Democrats, and is therefore what’s known as issue advocacy — the sort of ad that could have run before the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizen’s United decision. But Democrats say its a harbinger of nastier campaign tactics to come, and a prime example of why Congress needs to pass the DISCLOSE Act. As a 501(c)(4), AfP’s donor’s are unknown, and Democrats and campaign finance reform advocates warn that, without disclosure, special interests — including foreign and domestic corporations — could secretly influence election outcomes.
Look for the DCCC and state parties to ratchet up this campaign later this week. The first example of Democratic pushback comes from Zack Space — one of the targets of the ad — in this web video.
A complete list of targeted candidates — including one Republican — follows, as does the ad itself: