With veteran GOP operative Karl Rove at its back, and a little help from the Citizens United decision, the conservative PAC American Crossroads and its 501(c)(4) counterpart Crossroads GPS bombarded the airwaves with over $16 million in attack ads this campaign season. With 5 days to go until the election, American Crossroads announced $6 million worth of ad buys yesterday in its final blitz to defeat Democrats. But, while a GOP victory might be the Crossroads groups’ top priority, one ad proves that accuracy is certainly not.
This season, Crossroads created a one-size-fits-all ad slamming targeted Democrats for supporting the Recovery Act. Running in different races across the country, the ad claims that while whichever state’s “economy is reeling,” whoever the Democrat happens to be is “making [the economy] worse” by supporting the “stimulus boondoggle.” Confident that this “fill-in-the-blank” issue ad fits every state, Crossroads ran the ad against Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) in North Dakota. “North Dakota’s economy is reeling and Congressman Earl Pomeroy is making it worse,” the ad warns.
The ominous ad, however, fails to mention one important detail: North Dakota’s economy is not reeling. In fact, it’s booming. This summer, North Dakota saw employment rise from 362,100 in December 2007 to 371,300 last month — a record in job creation for the state. Indeed, along with Alaska, North Dakota is the only state “to have created jobs since the onslaught of the Great Recession.” And with the highest rate of personal income growth and the nation’s lowest unemployment rate of 3.7 percent — well below the 9.6 percent national average — this state’s economy “sticks out like a diamond in a bowl of cherry pits.”
But truth in advertising isn’t exactly Crossroads’ modus operandi. According to Factcheck.org research, American Crossroads regularly makes “false and misleading claims” in their “blizzard” of attack ads in states like Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Nevada, Missouri, and New Hampshire. And while American Crossroads must disclose its donors, Crossroads GPS is a 501(c)(4) organization and therefore does not have to. Thus, like its “kissing cousin” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Crossroads GPS can take advantage of legal loopholes to inject massive funds into this year’s election without ever having to disclose its funders.
Pomeroy’s campaign ripped into Crossroads today for the “phony,” “cookie-cutter” ad. “Next time Karl Rove wants to funnel secret money to North Dakota to influence our elections, he ought to visit our state first or at least pick up one of our newspapers,” said Pomeroy’s spokesman Brenden Timpe. “If he did, he would know that North Dakota’s economy is doing quite well thank you very much, and Earl has been a strong partner in that progress.”