Is there a double standard in outrage over third party group spending?
The communications director for the third party groups American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS thinks so.
Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that the with plans to spend almost $90 million on the midterm elections, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has become the biggest outside spender of the election cycle, jumping ahead of the third-party groups like Crossroads GPS, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and others.
Said Larry Scanlon, the head of AFSCME's political operations: "We're the big dog. But we don't like to brag."
On PBS’s NewsHour, commentator Mark Shields said there is a big difference between Crossroads GPS’s spending, and AFSCME’s. “The point is that you know what the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees want,” Shields said. “They want better benefits, better pay, better job security for their workers, who are public employees.”
Shields said that if AFSCME backs “a candidate, you know why they are backing a candidate, because that candidate is probably sympathetic to their cause. The real explosion, Judy, is in these groups that we don't know that have ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ and ‘prosperity’ in their name, that have formed just for this election, that have six and seven figures from anonymous givers, that go in and attack candidates and hit candidates. And that's the lack of accountability. That's the lack of transparency. We don't know what their agenda is. We don't know who is giving. And that really does change the dynamic of a race.”
Crossroads’ Jonathan Collegio Monday afternoon sent out a link to a new TV ad from AFSCME against Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle.
The ad features various “voters” describing some of Angle’s positions “as just too extreme and dangerous,” including an excerpt — during her now famous discussion of rape victims – of how she counseled some very young pregnant girls to have their children, or to make “what was really a lemon situation into lemonade.”
Wrote Collegio: “A number of commentators made the case over the weekend that unions like AFSCME are different from groups like American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, because the voting public knows what AFSCME is and what the group stands for.”
“A couple of thoughts here,” he wrote. “First off, no one knows what AFSCME is. Less than 60% of Americans can name Joe Biden as vice president. The average American who sees an AFSCME ad has no idea they’re the ‘big dog’ government employees union. Second, note that AFSCME’s ad has nothing to do with a single issue on their platform.” (Italics his.)
“No one could possibly know from watching that ad that it was funded by a bureaucrats union whose goal is to raise taxes and expand government,” Collegio wrote. “The outrage over spending by GOP-leaning outside groups is a political ploy, selective in its focus and hypocritical in its messaging.”