ABC News’ Devin Dwyer (@devindwyer) reports: Independent pro-Republican advocacy group Crossroads GPS today unveiled a million dollar TV ad campaign targeting 10 House Democrats in nine states for their support of the federal stimulus program and bank bailout, and raising the nation’s debt limit.
The group, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization with ties to strategist Karl Rove, said it would spend $1.4 million to air the 30-second spots for the next two weeks in the Democrats’ congressional districts, which are seen as battlegrounds in 2012.
The buy, significant this early in the House races, comes as part of $20 million campaign by Crossroads GPS to frame the ongoing debt and deficit debate and influence the upcoming elections.
"President Obama is leveraging his bully-pulpit for millions of dollars in free airtime, and as the debt negotiations unfold we must make sure Americans are getting the facts about the reckless spending in Washington,” said Steven Law, president of Crossroads GPS.
Last month, the group took aim at President Obama’s economic record with a $5 million TV ad buy in 10 swing states.
The latest ads are critical of Democratic Reps. Mike Ross of Arkansas, Jim Matheson of Utah, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Heath Shuler of North Carolina, Bill Owens and Tim Bishop of New York, Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Leonard Boswell of Iowa, Jerry Costello of Illinois and Lois Capps of California. All but Capps, who won reelection in November by a large margin, are considered vulnerable in 2012.
While the ads may appear political, they are careful not to directly advocate for or against the election of the individual members of congress. 501(c) groups can conduct unlimited campaigning to advance social welfare or a public policy position, but are limited in direct electioneering. Such groups are also not required to disclose the identities of their donors.