As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Freedom's Whoops

Yesterday I mentioned that Freedom's Watch was dumping ads into the LA-06 race to try and save a Republican seat. Turns out that they broke election law by coordinating the ads with the NRCC.

Democratic Party officials said they will file a complaint today with the Federal Election Commission alleging that a conservative political group has illegally coordinated its advertising with a Republican Party campaign committee in advance of a May 3 special election in Louisiana.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fundraising and campaign arm for House Democrats, alleges that the script for a television ad purchased by Freedom's Watch, an independent conservative political committee, can be traced to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The NRCC stopped running ads in the race yesterday. Freedom's Watch picked up the same day and the ad was on the same topic. And the Word document on which the ad was written has metadata tracing it to the NRCC. But Freedom's Watch says it's all a Three's Company-like misunderstanding:

Patrick McCarthy, the media consultant who wrote the (Don) Cazayoux ad for Freedom's Watch, said an innocent mistake caused the document to appear as if it came from the NRCC. McCarthy, who did consulting work for the NRCC for six years, said he pulled up an old ad template from his NRCC days and wrote the Louisiana ad script over it, then saved the file and sent it to the TV stations.

"It's absurd on the face of it. They're grasping at straws if they're saying recycling an old Word document is illegal," said McCarthy, who now works at Designated Market Media.

"See, I was in the other room and I heard Jack and Janet saying 'Push it in, pull it out,' and I thought they were having sex and not fixing the plumbing!"

Please, does anybody think that the cash-poor NRCC isn't begging for outside groups to get involved in these special elections and feeding them just the sort of information they should use?

The problem for Freedom's Watch and all the rest is that they don't have unlimited bank accounts, and there are going to be simply too many races to cover in November. As for now, we can only laugh.

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