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Campaign Finance

Ads tout veep pick Ryan

Rachael Marcus Aug 13, 2012

Republicans wasted no time in pumping up Mitt Romney’s choice as vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., touting the GOP’s new dynamic duo as “America’s Comeback Team.”

The “comeback” is not a reference to Romney’s recent slip in the polls, but to the assertion that the pair will return the nation to prosperity following the long recession, which they blame on President Barack Obama.

The Republican National Committee released a short video “Big Solutions” today that exudes positivity, featuring a sunrise, uplifting music and inspiring quotes from Romney and Ryan during Saturday’s announcement in Virginia.

Romney made a gaffe by introducing Ryan as “the next president of the United States.” The ad fixes that, adding a voice-over correction with Romney introducing him as “the next vice president of the United States.”

A conservative nonprofit group, American Future Fund, also got in on the action, releasing “Comeback Team” which unflatteringly splices together remarks from Vice President Joe Biden, for example: “…uh, to be able to know what the American people think, and I don’t…” Ad production and placement cost $23,000, according to a Federal Election Commission report.

While the nonprofit group is not required to release its donors, an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity revealed that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, also known as PhRMA, gave $300,000 to the organization in 2010.

Its founder is Nick Ryan, a former Rick Santorum advisor, founder and president of Concordia Group, LLC, a political consulting firm, and longtime advisor to former Rep. Jim Nussle, R-Iowa. He also founded the pro-Santorum super PAC Red, White and Blue Fund.

The nonprofit also spent some money on this week’s hottest race, the Republican primary contest for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin set for Tuesday.

The ad “Changed,” which supports Republican hedge fund manager and self-funding candidate Eric Hovde, cost $110,000, according to the FEC filing. It has yet to be posted online. The GOP primary in Wisconsin on Aug. 14 pits Hovde against former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thomspon and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann.

In other outside spending news, the Committee for Justice and Fairness PAC registered with the FEC as a super PAC on Aug. 7. It is affiliated with an organization backed by the Democratic Attorneys General Association, a so-called “527” group, created to elect Democrats as state attorneys general.

The super PAC is a new branch of the Committee for Justice and Fairness, also a 527 group, which received 99 percent of its income from the DAGA according to its 2010 tax return, the most recent filing available. reported the super PAC spent at least $100,000 on air time in Vermont for an ad supporting Democratic Attorney General Bill Sorrell.

The group has numerous tentacles in the states, including the Bluegrass Committee for Justice and Fairness which has received donations from the DAGA. One of its biggest non-DAGA donors is Poseidon LLC, a corporation registered in South Carolina. It is not certain what line of business Poseidon is in.

  • Pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future has a new ad called “Another Month” in the pipeline. Still unlisted on YouTube (you must have the link to see it), the ad criticizes Obama for “deny[ing] reality” rather than taking economic recovery seriously.
  • Conservative super PAC Club for Growth Action released “Digger” on Saturday, criticizing Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who is running for election in Arizona’s 4th District.
  • Pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action released “Scrap Steel” on Friday in which a worker criticizes Romney and Bain Capital for shuttering GST Steel’s Kansas City, Kan., plant. It was the same mill that was featured in the controversial ad “Understands,” in which Romney and Bain are linked to a woman’s death from cancer due to lack of health insurance.
  • Liberal PAC MoveOn.Org Political Action reported spending more than $116,000 on anti-Romney ads on Aug. 9.
  • Conservative nonprofit Americans for Prosperity reported its ad “Tick Tock,” (posted as “A One Term Proposition”) released Aug. 8, cost $6.6 million.
  • Friends of Democracy, a liberal-leaning super PAC funded in part by Jonathan Soros, son of hedge fund billionaire and prolific Democratic donor George, began a seven-state ad blitz with TV spots and direct mail adding up to more than $585,000. The campaign opposes Republican Reps. Charlie Bass of New Hampshire, Daniel Lungren of California, Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, Nan Hayworth of New York, James Renacci of Ohio, Mike Coffman of Colorado, and Raymond “Chip” Cravaack of Minnesota. Bass, Duffy, Cravaack and Lungren are the subject of “Get in the Game,” TV spots released in their home districts on Aug. 8 criticizing their cozy relationships with corporate lobbyists. 

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