No senator has been quite as friendly to the energy extraction sector than Mary Landrieu, understandable as she represents a state where drilling is second only to drinking as a lifestyle choice and revenue source.
Her re-election campaign touts that record in a new ad, showing clips of press appearances in which she excoriates the Obama administration for the post-BP-blowout offshore drilling embargo. Also included in the ad is her statement at an Energy Committee hearing demanding a fair division of royalties from drilling for the state.
Since federal law prohibits use of video taken in committee hearings or floor debates in political advertising, her campaign decided to re-enact the choice moment from the hearing.
Now a group calling itself "Keep Louisiana Working" is running an ad mocking her for obeying the law and not using the actual committee hearing footage.
My first thought when I saw the KLW ad was that Landrieu's spot must have been effective for them to counter it so quickly. My second thought was, "There's something familiar about this attack."
The ad denounces her campaign's use of paid actors in the committee meeting mockup. The ad itself is entitled "Actress Mary" and repeats the word several times. "Mary's an actress, too." "On TV, actress Mary pretends to be Louisiana's voice."
Hmm... Seems like I remember something about actors and political ads 'round here lately. Oh, that's right...
Koch Brothers Hire Paid Actors To Star In Attack Ad Claiming Obamacare Hurts Louisiana ResidentsThe story of the fake Louisianians got a lot of national play. Hell, I even used it myself:
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), who is up against three Republican challengers for her seat in Louisiana, is facing renewed attacks this week over her support for the Affordable Care Act. The Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity is out with a new ad featuring several people — who appear to be Louisiana residents — receiving notices in the mail that their insurance plans have been cancelled thanks to Obamacare. “Send Senator Landrieu a message: Obamacare is hurting Louisiana families,” the ad concludes.
But the people featured in the hard-hitting ad aren’t actually Louisiana residents at all. In reality, they’re paid actors hired by the right-wing group.
Eventually, Americans for Prosperity (Kochs) decided that their ploy had backfired and they pulled the "actor" ads and put up new ones using Republican Party activists instead.
Seeing an ad suddenly appear deriding Landrieu's use of paid actors in a spot, repeating the word "actress" and attempting to turn the negative connotations around on her, makes me suspect that the people behind "Keep Louisiana Working" may be a little familiar.
The Kochs are notoriously touchy when called out on their astroturfing. A tornado siren would be hard pressed to whine louder than did Sir Charles K in his Wall Street Journal "Kos Brothers" snifflefest. And the "I'm rubber, you're glue" project-and-deflect has become stock in trade for 'Pubs behaving badly.
But, in the end, it's impossible to prove my hypothesis. As the Times-Picayune reported Thursday:
Keep Louisiana Working has its own disclosure issues. It won't say who provides the group's funding. And in its own ad, it doesn't disclose that the director of the group, Emily Cornell, is a former RNC regional political director.Personally, I don't care who the "group's" director is. I'm much more interested in where they got the $180K to run that ad on state TV this week.
As a connoisseur of political ads, I pride myself on my ability to recognize varietals and vintages, and this one smells a lot like Koch.
An inquiring PS: In a (fruitless) attempt to learn more about "Keep Louisiana Working," I looked over their rather scant web site and saw, featured on the front page, a video of the anti-ACA testimony from local businessman Larry Katz, who owns the Dot's Diner chain.
I'm quite curious to learn more of Mr. Katz's relationship with the group. Do they simply admire his brave stand against Obamacare or does he serve some role in the group's table of organization?
Again, until and unless KLW is a bit more forthcoming in its disclosure, it's impossible to know. But it's a question worth asking as, so far as I can tell, Mr. Katz is still a member of the Board of Directors of the state-run lottery, which may (or may not) be something of a conflict of interest if he is actively involved in partisan politics.
To be extremely clear here, I don't know whether or not Mr. Katz is actively involved with KLW or is simply a small business hero of theirs. I don't know if his role on the Lottery Board of Directors would even preclude such a role in a political advocacy group.
However, due to his position on a state-run corporation, I believe the questions are valid. In asking them, I mean no disrespect to Mr. Katz. In the interest of full disclosure, I like his diners.