Tuesday, November 22, 2005

AP Wire | 11/21/2005 | Secret Right-Wing Group's ads try to make Santorum Look Competent - Not an easy job!

AP Wire | 11/21/2005 | Group's ad touts Santorum's record on tax relief: " Posted on Mon, Nov. 21, 2005

Group's ad touts Santorum's record on tax relief
Associated Press
WASHINGTON - A group called Americans for Job Security is spending more than $450,000 to run an ad in support of Sen. Rick Santorum's 2006 re-election bid.

The ad, showing a family playing together in the park, credits Santorum, R-Pa., with helping to provide $300 billion in tax relief, eliminate the marriage penalty and increase the per-child tax credit.

"Pennsylvania families relax a little more these days because Rick Santorum is getting things done every day," the ad says.

The campaign manager for Santorum's leading prospective Democratic challenger, Pennsylvania Treasurer Bob Casey Jr., on Monday criticized the group, saying it has not revealed the identity of donors.

"We think the voters of Pennsylvania deserve to know who's backing Rick Santorum," said Jay Reiff, Casey's campaign manager. "They shouldn't be hiding behind these shadowy organizations. We need to have full disclosure."

Americans for Job Security, based in Alexandria, Va., is registered under 501(c) of the federal tax code, a classification that allows groups to engage in political activity without revealing contributors as long as that is not their main activity. The president, Michael Dubke, said the organization does not reveal donors because that would distract from their message.

Dubke said the ad is a kickoff to a national campaign to promote tax cuts and other issues the group backs. He said there would be a heated political and policy debate during the Pennsylvania race and "we want to be part of that debate."

The ad started running Friday and will be aired for about two weeks in all Pennsylvania markets except Philadelphia, he said.

Craig Holman, campaign finance lobbyist with Public Citizen, a liberal-leaning advocacy group, alleged that Americans for Job Security is a political front group backing conservative causes.

"From everything I've seen, they do absolutely nothing except electioneering," Holman said.

Santorum is lagging behind Casey in the polls, and Holman said the group's decision to run an ad nearly a year before the election indicates how close the race is perceived to be.

Virginia Davis, Santorum's campaign spokeswoman, said the campaign was not aware of the ad until it ran on television.

"We can't control what message third party groups choose to highlight, but Sen. Santorum has been a champion for cutting taxes of Pennsylvanians and all Americans, and that record is well-known," Davis said."

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