Mitt Romney’s new ad, “War On Coal,” accuses President Obama of “ruining the coal industry” and putting coal miners out of work. It also showcases footage of Romney speaking at a rally at an Ohio coal mine, flanked by solemn-looking miners.
Those miners, however, are not Romney supporters. In fact, they later said they were forced to attend the rally without pay. Now that the footage has been used in a campaign ad, the political advocacy group Progress Ohio has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission accusing the owner of Murray Energy Corporation of an illegal corporate contribution in the form of his employees.
The ad is running in the coal towns of Steubenville, Ohio and Wheeling and Parkersburg, West Virginia. Progress Ohio’s Brian Rothenberg said he would be “open” to dropping the complaint if the campaign pulls the ad or edits the miners out of it. When asked about the complaint, a Romney campaign spokesman told the Columbus Dispatch:
It remains a widely accepted fact by Democrats and Republicans alike that President Obama has spent the past four years waging a war on coal that has devastated middle class families and coal communities across the Midwest. These gimmicks by Barack Obama’s left-wing allies are nothing more than an ineffective and pathetic attempt to distract voters away from that reality.
Romney’s ads have often raised concerns of dishonesty. In his very first campaign ad against Obama, he attributed the line, “If we talk about the economy, we’re going to lose,” to Obama though he was actually mimicking the McCain campaign in 2008. Romney was also widely condemned for a blatantly false ad about Obama’s welfare reforms.