A conservative group is seeking to inject Stephen Colbert's testimony to a House subcommittee into West Virginia's U.S. Senate race.
The spot attacking Democratic candidate and Governor Joe Manchin., is produced by the Committee For Truth in Politics. The spot shows a montage of issues appealing to conservatives, in an effort to describe how "many things are wrong in Washington," before showing a still of the comedian.
"And they think it's all one big joke," the narrator says.
According to the nonprofit, non-partisan group FactCheck.org, Committee For Truth in Politics is represented by lawyer James Bopp, who worked on behalf of Citizens United on the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned limits on corporate and union spending in elections.
Bopp, a longtime conservative activist, told the New York Times in January that his goal was to "pretty well dismantle the entire regulatory regime that is called campaign finance law."
Bopp has not disclosed information regarding the ad's cost and when it will air.
CTP was founded in September 2008 and briefly aired ads against Barack Obama in the final months of the presidential campaign. A number of the group's spots have come under fire from FactCheck for omissions and "exaggerations." An ad airing against U.S. Rep. Zack Space of Ohio , which uses many of the same visual and narrative elements of the anti-Manchin spot, claims the Democrat's vote for a cap-and-trade bill may send "over 100,00 jobs" from his state overseas.
Manchin faces Republican John Raese, the millionaire head of Greer Industries and owner of several media outlets in West Virginia. Raese has made three unsuccessful runs for office in the past and his campaigns have been largely self-financed. In 2006, Raese spent $2.3 million of his personal wealth in an effort to unseat Democrat Robert C. Byrd.
Raese is benefiting from outside help in his current bid. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has spent $1.2 million in support of his run. The NRSC ads echo Raese's own spots, in which he claims Manchin will serve as a "rubber stamp" for President Obama, and highlights the governor's support for health care reform.
National Democrats have come to Manchin's defense. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has purchased $400,000 in independent expenditures for the race. The Democratic spots criticize Raese for seeking to abolish the minimum wage.