September 6, 2006

The “Republicans Who Care” Clinic on How to Make Yourself Irrelevant

Carroll Andrew Morse

Just in case you’ve haven’t had your fill of issueless negative ads, the Projo’s Katherine Gregg reports on organization called the “Republicans Who Care Individual Fund” who have gone on the air with an attack-ad against Steve Laffey...

A group supporting moderate Republicans has entered the U.S. Senate fray with a hard-knuckled ad alleging that GOP challenger Stephen P. Laffey's last two jobs as a stockbroker "ended in disgrace" and he was sued by one former employer "for stealing confidential documents that Laffey didn't return until a judge made him."

The ad was scheduled to begin airing late last night on Channel 6 (WLNE), at the behest of a group calling itself Republicans Who Care Individual Fund that is affiliated with the Republican Main Street Partnership.

According to the IRS, the Republicans Who Care Individual Fund was formerly known as the “Main Street Individual Fund”. Before it changed its name, Main Street's biggest donor was a gentleman named Dinakar Singh, a major Democratic party campaign contributor. Mr. Singh gave the Main Street Individual Fund $100,000 (in April ’04) in between giving $20,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (February ’04) and giving $4,000 to Patrick Kennedy (June ’04).

In this election cycle, Mr. Singh has not contributed anything to Republicans Who Care. However, the organization did take $25,000 from a gentleman named Sidney Weinberg, a major contributor to the Teaching Hospital Education Political Action Committee (THEPAC). The name sounds non-partisan enough, but THEPAC gives most of its ample funds to Democrats, including Edward Kennedy ($1,000), Hillary Clinton ($5,000), Charles Rangel ($6,500) and, again, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ($30,000). Apparently the supporters of Senator Lincoln Chafee have advanced their strategy of trying to overwhelm Republican votes with Democratic votes to trying to overwhelm Republican voters with Democratic money too!

But the problem with organizations like Republicans Who Care (and the Republican Main Street Partnership) is more than just the money. It is that they are more comfortable taking Democratic money than they are talking substantively to Republican voters. Yet again, the so-called "moderate" wing of the party is demanding a right to be a force in the Republican party while refusing to tell the public what they stand for (and refusing to tell the Republican segment of the public how they are different from Democrats) in their highest-profile messaging. Republicans Who Care didn’t care enough to engage Rhode Island in the extended campaign involving the Senate’s most vulnerable Republican liberal, rejecting dialogue and compromise with their own party’s voters, preferring to use personal surprise attacks to try to silence those with whom they disagree.

If the Republican moderates don’t think they can win a legitimate battle of ideas in Rhode Island, then where exactly do they think they can win?

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{Greg, you've been commenting long enough to know that one wasn't going to make it.}

Posted by: Greg at September 6, 2006 4:47 PM

Great sleuthing and "follow-the-money"-ing, Andrew!

Posted by: SusanD at September 6, 2006 9:05 PM

I thought it was so absurd as to be satirical. Guess not.

Posted by: Greg at September 6, 2006 9:17 PM

Actually, what's absurd is that Rino Cooke is making sense (see comment #1 in the post immediately above).

That's defintiely a sign that this campaign has gone on for too long.

Posted by: Andrew at September 6, 2006 9:59 PM

I saw this ad tonight again on Channel 12. How can I phrase "truck full of steaming crap" better?

On a more important note, one thing that I've not seen being picked up locally YET, though I have read about it elsewhere, is that this particular ad, as it is currently being run, is ILLEGAL, as it is missing several of the required disclaimers which should indicate "who is responsible for the content of the ad," and that it is "not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee." I suspect an FEC complaint will be forthcoming, if it hasn't been filed already. I don't know what liability, if any, local broadcasters would face for continuing to allow it to be broadcast.

Even though [Chafee] is the de facto "beneficiary" of this particular advertisement, they should take note, as this could be considered a "soft money" contribution by that "group" to their campaign, because they are not stating that it is not by the Chafee campaign in that commericial. At minimum, the Chafee campaign should renounce the ad, or request that they abide by the law. I also think that some well-placed calls to a few of the local stations would be in order to alert them of this issue, if they are not already aware of it. Again, more unintended consequences of McCain - Feingold.

Of course, the really funny part is who is actually financing it -- Democrats and Aristocrats for starters. Since when have the Rockefellers lived on "Main Street"?

Posted by: Will at September 7, 2006 12:44 AM

I don't expect Laffey to repudiate the Club for Growth ads. Why should Chafee have to repudiate the NRSC ads?
Unless we can all agree to ban 527s and national party committees from airing ads entirely, we're just trying to piece the hymen back together here.

Posted by: Rhody at September 8, 2006 1:06 AM

Actually, in this case, I'm not referring to NRSC ads -- as distasteful as they've been, at least they're using the required verbal and printed disclosures in their advertisements. I'm specifically referring to the ad being run by the fake group "Republicans Who Care" (about what, the Lord only knows!).

Anyway, my original assertions still stand.

Posted by: Will at September 8, 2006 3:59 AM