The Week In Conservative Attack Ads

After last week’s wave of House ads, conservative outside groups focused most of their attention on the Senate this week. Of the 14 ads we fact-checked, eight of them targeted Senate hopefuls (five from Karl Rove’s Crossroads groups and three from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce), compared to only two hitting House candidates (both from the Congressional Leadership Fund). We also answered presidential ads from Restore Our Future, Americans for Job Security, and American Future Fund. Finally, Americans for Prosperity joined the conservative campaign to oust three Florida Supreme Court justices.

Koch Connections

Americans for Prosperity didn’t release new TV ads in any federal races, but that doesn’t mean the Koch brothers’ influence was absent from the airwaves. Two groups with financial ties to the Kochs issued attacks on President Obama.

Americans for Job Security put $8.2 million behind an ad that paints a misleading picture of the economy and declares, “The future is getting worse under Obama.” A self-described “bipartisan, pro-business” group, AJS does not disclose its donors. However, its largest known source of funding in the midterm election cycle was the mysterious Center to Protect Patient Rights ($4,828,000), which is run by a reported “Koch operative.”

American Future Fund also released a presidential ad in Minnesota that attempts – misleadingly – to use the president’s own words against him. The Iowa-based group received seed money from hog and ethanol “baron” Bruce Rastetter, but it is similarly secretive about its donors. In 2010, AFF received $11,685,000 from the Koch-linked Center to Protect Patient Rights, accounting for about half of its revenue for the year.

Messaging Medicare

The message of the week was clear in Florida, where American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce accused Sen. Bill Nelson (D) of supporting Medicare cuts. Both groups misrepresent the Affordable Care Act’s impact on seniors, while ignoring the fact that Nelson’s opponent, Rep. Connie Mack (R), voted for the same reductions in future Medicare spending (along with Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to transform Medicare into a voucher program). Americans for Prosperity reinforced the message with its ACA-based attack on three Florida Supreme Court justices, which claimed the health care law allows “unelected bureaucrats” to “cut Medicare.”