January 26, 2006

Liberal groups funding anti-DeLay ad won't disclose donors

Samantha Levin files this from the Chronicle's DC bureau:

The two liberal groups behind the TV ads that criticized some of Rep. Tom DeLay's political funding connections paid for the commercials in a way that avoids mandatory disclosure of their donors.

The groups, whose ads ran on Houston-area stations that reach DeLay's suburban district, also refused to voluntarily disclose the names to the Houston Chronicle.

The Public Campaign Action Fund and the Campaign for America's Future said they used the nonprofit arms of their organizations to buy about $80,000 worth of broadcast time. Such organizations, unlike national political action committees and other campaign groups, do not have to list their contributors for the federal government.


Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future, said the group "discloses exactly what is required."

Its tax returns show how much was received in contributions, but not donor names or what they gave.

The groups denied the Chronicle's request for a list of top contributors.

According to tax records, the Campaign for America's Future got more than $1 million in donations during 2004 and gave $50,000 to the liberal group People for the American Way.

The Public Campaign Action Fund has taken more than $1 million since 2000. For 2004, the latest figures available, the group reported spending about 80 percent of its $155,000 in revenues to "promote non-partisan reform in the funding processes for political elections."


DeLay spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty said that the law might allow the groups to shield the names of those who funded the ads,"but they can't hide their liberal ties to George Soros and the AFL-CIO, and their agenda of electing Nancy Pelosi Democrats to Congress."

California Rep. Pelosi leads Democrats in the House. Soros contributed millions to an effort to defeat President Bush in the 2004 elections.

The liberal groups' 30-second ads in Houston, which aired through Wednesday, called for the resignation of DeLay, R-Sugar Land. They cite contributions to him from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a golf trip DeLay took with Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is cooperating with a federal investigation of influence peddling.


The original version was slated to begin airing Jan. 11 on KTRK (Channel 13), KRIV (Channel 26), KHOU (Channel 11) and KPRC (Channel 2). The stations balked after DeLay's campaign lawyers complained that the ad was false and warned that the stations could face legal action if they aired it.

The groups revised the ad last week with more detailed information about donations to DeLay and more complete excerpts from cited newspaper stories. All but KTRK aired the spot.
There will be many more spots like these.

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