Politics & Policy

Murkowski Campaign Tries to Pull Miller Ads Off Air

Republican senate candidate Joe Miller’s campaign reported that Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s campaign wrote a letter to local media outlets urging them not to air Miller’s ads in the last 24 hours before the election. The Murkowski campaign, according to a letter written by Miller lawyer Thomas Van Flein, said the Miller ads did not include the necessary sponsorship required by federal law.

“The Miller Campaign ads are in fact compliant and contain the sponsorship statement required under Federal Law (BCRA), namely; a statement from the candidate that he approves the message,” argued Van Flein in the letter.

“These Murkowski accusations are false,” said Miller in a statement. “They are being made to intimidate local broadcasters to pull my advertising on the eve of the election. To our knowledge, no ads have been pulled, but the effort to do so is unfair, unwise and un-American.”

“Joe Miller will not be intimidated by Murkowski’s efforts to stop his ability to communicate to the people of Alaska through the airwaves,” Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto said in a statement. “It’s part of a relentless effort by numerous media parties and the Murkowski campaign to silence and distort our message. People throughout the state are responding to his message and that will be reflected at the polls today.”

Murkowski spokesman Steve Wackowski tells Battle ’10 that Miller’s ads did not follow federal rules. “In his current ads he attacks Senator Murkowski and does not mention the office he is running for,” says Wackowski. “I recommend you ask his camp why they did not include the proper disclaimer.” Wackowski attached the Federal Election Commission’s rules for radio ads, underlining the rule stating that a candidate must specifically mention what political office he is seeking or face losing the privilege of lower ad costs.

“Murkowski admits trying to get Joe’s ads pulled,” responds Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto to Battle ’10. “This is unethical and illegal.  Joe’s ads make it clear he is running for U.S. Senate.  Is Lisa Murkowski really contending that Joe’s ads don’t make that clear?  In any event, if the required sponsorship information is not self-contained, the only remedy a station has is to consider applying a higher advertising rate instead of the lowest privileged rates otherwise available to political candidates.  There is nothing in the law that allows Murkowski to unilaterally and petulantly demand Alaska media to pull Joe Miller ads.”

DeSoto added that the campaign had confirmed all ads were in compliance with federal rules.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...


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