Kilroy Campaign Sends Cease and Desist Letters to Columbus TV Stations on Stivers Ad

Jodi Jacobson

Lawyers for the Kilroy for Congress campaign sent a letter to Columbus area TV Stations and cable providers asking for them to stop airing a new television ad paid for by Steve Stivers which contains false statements, about which we wrote earlier today.

Lawyers for the Kilroy for Congress campaign sent a letter to Columbus area TV Stations and cable providers asking for them to stop airing a new television ad paid for by Steve Stivers which contains false statements, about which we wrote earlier today.

A press release from the campaign said:

The ad, which has been deemed by independent media sources as, “ludicrous” and “red-baiting,” are a crass attempt by the Stivers campaign to completely malign Mary Jo Kilroy’s record and an irresponsible attempt to mislead Central Ohio Voters.

As we noted earlier today, the ad claims that Congresswoman Kilroy voted to use taxpayer funds to create and grow jobs in China.

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It “questions Congresswoman Kilroy’s loyalty to her country,” the letter says. 

Ohio law prohibits a candidate for political office from disseminating through a television advertisement “a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.”

In their statement, the Kilroy campaign said:

A cursory review of the evidence could have alerted Stivers to the fact that his advertisement is false.  Therefore, Stivers either knew the ad to be false or
disseminated the ad with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity.  In either case, the ad violates Ohio law and may not be disseminated.

Independent news outlets have found that the claims made in Stivers’s
advertisement are patently untrue, said the campaign. 

The Columbus Dispatch called the ad, “ludicrous” and “red-baiting.”  Further, the Dispatch states, “The ad exploits fears of China and questions Kilroy’s loyalty to the United States by showing images of Chairman Mao and Kilroy’s image against the U.S. and Chinese flags.

The full text of the letter is below:

As attorney for the Kilroy for Congress campaign, I write to request that you cease airing an advertisement created by Republican congressional candidate Steve Stivers that contains false and misleading statements about Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy.

On or about October 20, 2010, your television station began airing an advertisement, created and approved by Stivers, containing false and misleading statements about Congresswoman Kilroy’s record during her first term in Congress.  The ad claims that Congresswoman Kilroy voted to use taxpayer funds to create and grow jobs in China and questions Congresswoman Kilroy’s loyalty to her country.  The advertisement is intended to deceive the electorate in Ohio’s 15th congressional district about Congresswoman Kilroy’s distinguished career faithfully serving the people of central Ohio.

Independent news outlets have found that the claims made in Stivers’s advertisement are patently untrue.  The Pulitzer Prize-winning, non-partisan fact-checking website PolitiFact found that identical statements made by Sarah Palin and Austin Scott, a congressional candidate in Georgia, were false. 

Politifact, February 17, 2010; Politifact, October 19, 2010.

And the Columbus Dispatch calls Stivers’s ad “ludicrous” and “red-baiting.”  Columbus Dispatch, October 22, 2010.

Ohio law prohibits a candidate for political office from disseminating through a television advertisement “a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.” Ohio Revised Code § 3517.21(B)(10).  A cursory review of the evidence could have alerted Stivers to the fact that his advertisement is false.  Therefore, Stivers either knew the ad to be false or disseminated the ad with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity. 

In either case, the ad violates Ohio law and may not be disseminated.

Each time the advertisement airs more voters will be unlawfully deceived about Congresswoman Kilroy’s record.  I ask that you cease to airing Stivers’s false and misleading advertisement immediately to preserve the integrity of the congressional election for Ohio’s 15th District.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Kilroy Campaign Charges Opponent with Lying in a Pattern Seen Throughout the Country

Jodi Jacobson

Negative campaigning and the use of ads to undermine an opponent is nothing new. Today, however, some campaigns just make things up. Literally.

Negative campaigning and the use of ads to undermine an opponent is nothing new. 

Today, however, some campaigns just make things up. Literally. 

Such is the case in Ohio’s 15th District where Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), running for re-election has charged her opponent, Steve Stivers with running a false TV ad:

“Steve Stivers has finally taken things too far. His campaign of lies and deceit is now running a blatantly false television advertisement in a desperate attempt to win an election. In response to his attempt to deceive central Ohioans, Mary Jo Kilroy’s campaign has filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission demanding the ad be taken off the air.”

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According to the Kilroy campaign, the ad in question revolves around a series of lies about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, claiming that Kilroy has created jobs in China. Kilroy’s campaign has filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission demanding the ad be taken off the air.

“Too bad for Corporate Lobbyist Stivers,” says the press release from Kilroy’s campaign. “His case isn’t backed up by the facts. According to the nonpartisan Politifact, no jobs have been created in China as a result of Kilroy’s vote for President Obama’s stimulus plan.”

“There is an enormous difference between talking about policy differences and out and out lying to the voters,” said Brad Bauman, Communications Director for Mary Jo Kilroy.

“This ad falls so far on the latter side that it’s mind-boggling the Stivers campaign ever thought this was within the realm of social acceptability. This ad should be taken down immediately and we will fight to make sure that is exactly what happens.”

The Kilroy campaign is not alone in charging falsehoods against an opponent or against outside groups funding advertisements in hotly contested races.

In fact, writes Amie Newman, a U.S. District Court ruled against the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) in the case of advertising supported by SBAL targeting certain anti-choice candidates who supported health care reform, claiming they voted for “taxpayer funded abortion” by doing so. Also in Ohio, they paid for a billboard targeting Rep. Steve Driehaus stating, “Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR Taxpayer Funded Abortion!” Driehaus complained to the OEC, which ruled that the claim was in fact false and ordered the group to take the billboard down.  Now, SBAL is bringing a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s “false statement in political advertising” law.

There is no provision for “tax payer-funded abortion” in the health reform bill.  This is a blatant lie being used across the country by anti-choice forces to defeat candidates.  But they’ve got enormous sums of money from Tea-Party backers such as the Koch brothers, from corporations and from other anonymous sources to tell their tale.

Another example is the now-infamous Amendment 62 video being run on YouTube, which is not only replete with lies, it references Nazi Germany, and makes President Obama out to be the Angel of Death.

Clearly, the Ohio Elections Commission and other such bodies have a lot of work these days as more and more money from outside groups pours into close races, they are seeking to use negative advertising to their advantage.

This really does come down to values, and whether you stick to them even when the going gets difficult.

“Central Ohioans deserve better than someone who will blatantly lie just to win an election. This ad is patently false and just another example of how Lobbyist Steve Stivers will say and do anything, with an astounding disregard for the truth.”

Another $1 Million Anti-Choice Campaign? Susan B. Anthony List Targets Key Dems

Amie Newman

Despite being embroiled in a lawsuit in Ohio for false advertising, the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List continues using the false charge of "taxpayer-funded abortion" to attempt to sway millions of voters.

It seems like there are a lot of million dollar anti-choice campaigns magically appearing these days. Robin Marty just wrote yesterday about Gary Bauer’s anti-choice “Campaign for Working Families” targeting a host of pro-choice Senatorial candidates for defeat. In fact, Robin has noticed the striking similiarity between a whole host of anti-choice groups target lists over the last week or more now, including Americans United for Life. Now it’s the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) delivering their  anti-choice agenda directly to over two million voters’ mailboxes, as they target 42 Democrats for their records on reproductive rights.

From the Washington Post today,

The pamphlets, which feature photographs of a sleeping baby juxtaposed against close-ups of the targeted lawmaker, President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, equate a vote for the health care law with support for taxpayer-financed abortion. [emphasis added]

The law walled off federal money from paying for the procedure, and an executive order Obama signed earlier this year affirmed long-standing restrictions on taxpayer-financed abortion, but activists on the issue argue that neither is sufficient.

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What’s especially striking about the pamphlets is that SBA appears to continue to use the “taxpayer-financed abortion” language which recently led them into trouble in Ohio. The Ohio Election Commission ruled against them last week when Rep. Steve Driehaus charged that the group was engaging in false advertising when they repeated the claim that Driehaus voted in favor of “taxpayer-funded abortion” when voting for the health care reform bill. The claim made by SBA is false: The Hyde Amendment bars federal funds from going towards abortion care.

Though the group has run TV and radio spots targeting both House and Senate candidates in California, Nevada and Ohio, among other states, the mail campaign, notes the Washington Post:

“is far broader, targeting some of the most vulnerable Democrats like Reps. Suzanne Kosmas of Florida, Debbie Halvorson of Illinois and Dina Titus of Nevada, as well as some only recently considered potentially at risk such as Arizona’s Raul Grijalva, Colorado’s John Salazar and Wisconsin’s Ron Kind.”

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