COLUMBUS, OH: The Campaign for America?s Future turned up the pressure on Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) last week with a $30,000 ad campaign tying the congressman to four indicted Washington insiders.
The liberal group's print ads, which appeared on four consecutive pages in the December 1 Columbus Dispatch, asked readers to meet Ney's "Washington friends": former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, PR pro Michael Scanlon, and New York businessman Adam Kidan.
"We're running these to raise questions, not to make judgments," said Ellen Miller, deputy director of Campaign for America's Future, during a November 30 conference call.
Miller said her group wants to "shed sunshine" on Ney's activities in Washington to help his constituents become better informed.
DeLay, who gave about $25,000 to Ney's campaign committee, was indicted earlier this year in Texas for campaign finance violations. Abramoff and Kidan were indicted on fraud charges connected to the purchase of SunCruz, a Florida casino cruise line. Ney inserted two comments into the Congressional Record about SunCruz that aided the deal.
Scanlon, a former press aid to DeLay who later worked for Abramoff, pleaded guilty two weeks ago to trying to bribe Ney with trips and gifts in exchange for legislative favors.
The latest campaign marks the third time this year the group has run ads in Ohio targeting Ney. Miller said the group is using small contributions received over the Internet to finance the ad campaign. In the past, the group has received significant contributions from billionaire financier George Soros.
"If the theme of these ads is to question one's association with someone, I expect the folks in Ohio are going to have serious questions about this group's association with George Soros, who is well known throughout Ohio as being the Daddy Warbucks of drug legalization," said Brian Walsh, Ney's communications director. "I fully expect that once people learn who this group is and what they're about, they will be quickly discredited."
Earlier this year, the group used local advertising to target alleged improprieties of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), House Social Security Subcommittee Chair Rep. James McCrery (R-LA), and Rep. John Tanner (D-TN).