Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been hammering his primary challenger, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, over Hayworth's involvement in a 2007 informercial promoting highly questionable seminars for "free money" in government grants. Now McCain's own ethics are being questioned -- by "free money" pitchman Matthew Lesko, who says McCain violated copyright laws by using Lesko's image in an attack on Hayworth.
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The Mccain campaign posted a Web video likening Hayworth to various late-night infomercial pitchmen, including clips of Lesko in his signature Riddler suit-jacket among others. (Note: The company Hayworth worked for was not associated with Lesko.) Lesko then told the Associated Press that he was not ruling out suing McCain for copyright infringement. "I'm amazed that these people just do things without requesting. I would've said yes," Lesko said. "I'm just shocked at the impoliteness that people do this stuff. There's no remorse."
Lesko also posted on Twitter: "John McCain's team didn't ask permission to use my commercial footage in their ad.. I'm flabbergasted." He followed that up with another post: "All might be fair in love and war, even AZ politics, but not with violated copyright laws."
We asked McCain spokesman Brian Rogers for comment on Lesko's statement about "violated copyright laws." "Our web ad is obviously political speech, and our lawyers advise us that its fleeting image of Mr. Lesko to make a political point is 'fair use' under the intellectual property laws," said Rogers.