Picking a fight with the Chamber of Commerce, MoveOn.org is launched a set of statewide television advertisements Thursday, criticizing Senate Republican candidates for associating with the business lobby.
Titled "The Company They Keep," the ads tie Kentucky Republican Rand Paul and New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte to recent allegations that the Chamber committed tax fraud by laundering millions of dollars meant for charitable work.
"They say you can judge a person by the company they keep. Well, Senate Candidate Rand Paul is getting hundreds of thousands dollars worth of help from the Chamber of Commerce a group recently accused of tax fraud for diverting money meant for charity toward their partisan agenda... if Rand Paul is on their side, do you think he'd be on yours."
Coming on the heels of the Chamber endorsing Paul (as well as Ayotte) and committing $300,000 to his race (and more than $1 million to hers), the ads are meant as a counter-balance of sorts. MoveOn officials say that there is serious money behind their spots and that they will air statewide. But they say that the resources they are bringing to these two races are dwarfed by the business lobby. And it's not entirely clear how motivated voters will be when the main object of demonization is the Chamber, not the candidate himself or herself. Most people, after all, are familiar with (and favorably disposed to) local chambers, which are far less political than the national office.
There is, however, an additional noteworthy element to the new ads. While MoveOn paid for the spots, they are part of a broader rapid-response effort that the group has undertaken with two other progressive institutions: Media Matters Action Network, and ThinkProgress.org. This was the first batch of pushback ads this coalition has launched, with others expected to come later.
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