PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This election season is like every other in recent years — lots of campaign ads by the candidates — and other ads by outside interest groups with names like Reform PAC PA that mean nothing to anyone.
Now the latest on TV: “Conman Keith voted against the Violence Against Women Act and then applauded its passage.”
This attack on Congressman Keith Rothfus, a Sewickley Republican, for voting one way and saying something else is sponsored by a Political Action Committee called Our Voices Matter.
KDKA political editor Jon Delano asked Rothfus’ Democratic challenger, Erin McClelland, about this ad.
Delano: “What do you have to do with that ad?”
McCelland: “Nothing. That’s an independent PAC.”
McClelland is right. She doesn’t have enough money in her campaign account for her own TV ads.
“Mr. Rothfus is claiming it’s Nancy Pelosi, and from what I’m told it’s a local person that lives in the AK Valley that’s doing it,” says McClelland. “So, it’s not Nancy Pelosi. It’s somebody who lives around here that’s had enough and decided they wanted to fight and jumped into this race. I don’t have anything to do with it.”
Turns out the man behind these ads is a local UPMC cancer doctor — Patrick Kane, M.D. — who would not appear on camera.
“He met Congressman Rothfus and wasn’t impressed with him, and then he met Erin McClelland and was impressed with her,” noted attorney Chuck Pascal.
After Kane gave McClelland’s campaign $5,200, the maximum allowed under law, Pascal created a SuperPAC for the Squirrel Hill doctor.
“We put the PAC together, and he contributed his $100,000 to it,” said Pascal.
Kane’s SuperPAC is running only this ad at the moment and hopes it will make a difference.
“Congressman Rothfus is on the air with very positive ads about himself. And this is designed to say, well, not all of that is true. Continue to look at this race,” said Pascal.
Under recent Supreme Court rulings, anyone — a person, corporation, union — can create a SuperPAC, give unlimited money to it, and run both negative and positive political ads.
What you cannot do is coordinate with the candidate or his or her campaign.
Pascal says Dr. Kane’s PAC has never done that.
Rothfus’s campaign manager tells KDKA the congressman sticks by his views, and says Kane’s PAC is running, “misleading special interest attack ads.”
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