Campaign MoneyWatch takes aim at Ken Buck’s loaded history

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It must be Ken Buck week here at You Report central. A reader in Colorado followed up yesterday’s post about an education group’s attack ad against the Republican candidate for Senate by alerting us to another one.

This one comes courtesy of Campaign Money Watch, a project of the Public Campaign Action Fund, which has already aired an ad attacking Republican Dan Lungren of California. On its website, Campaign Money Watch says it “works to hold politicians who are against comprehensive campaign finance reform accountable for where they get their political donations.”

Buck’s opponent — Colorado Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet — co-sponsored the Fair Elections Now Act, legislation that would cap individual campaign contributions at $100 to qualify for federal funding. Campaign Money Watch supports the bill as a way to lessen the influence of lobbyists and campaign money bundlers in political campaigns.

The new ad opens with a blue-tinted shot of the candidate, then the two-note sound that is the trademark of the television program Law & Order. A female voice warns that Ken Buck was “investigated for ethics violations” and was “reprimanded for reckless disregard for duty” when he worked for the U.S. Attorney. The ad claims that his conduct allowed an illegal gun dealer facing 37 charges to escape prosecution — and that the same gun dealer has since made a series of donations to Buck’s campaign. The ad concludes that Buck is “just plain wrong for Colorado.”

On its website, Campaign Money Watch has an itemized list documenting the claims made in its ad.

David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch, said the group decided to air the ad to help Bennet after his “heartfelt and conscious” support for the Fair Elections Now Act. Buck has refused to promise that he will support the bill if elected, Donnelly said, and has also criticized the DISCLOSE Act, a separate bill pushed by congressional Democrats that would “fix” to the Citizens United ruling by forcing corporations to disclose more information about their political donations.

Federal Election Commission disclosure forms say the ad cost $730,000, but Donnelly says additional ad time has bumped that figure up to about $750,000, alongside the $21,000 it cost to produce. The ad started running in the Denver area last Wednesday and will wind down this weekend. Campaign Money Watch is now discussing whether to run another ad in Colorado before the election, he said.

A Buck campaign spokesman did not return calls for comment by press time.

Ad Title: The Gun Dealer

Paid for By: Campaign Money Watch

Cost: about $750,000

Disclaimer: Paid for by Public Campaign Action Fund’s Campaign Money Watch. Not authorized by any candidate or political party. Public Campaign Action Pund’s [sic] Campaign Money Watch is responsible for the content of this advertising. Campaignmoney.org

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