Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Corbett Faces Budget Attack Democratic Consultant Keeps Mum on Funding of Critical Ad

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Corbett Faces Budget Attack Democratic Consultant Keeps Mum on Funding of Critical Ad

Article excerpt

The Democratic consultant behind an attack ad running statewide on Gov. Tom Corbett's spending policies will not disclose who is funding his effort, while criticizing conservative ad-makers taking advantage of the same no-holds-barred advertising rules.

The 30-second ad from the American Working Families Action Fund in Alexandria, Va., repeats Democratic criticisms of Corbett administration education and health care cuts, while assailing him for raising salaries of top personnel and resisting high taxes on energy firms.

"Tom Corbett isn't spending less. He's just making things harder for the middle class," says the ad, which is running in every television market statewide.

Those criticisms alone are not remarkable, as they have been raised elsewhere, but the timing of the attack is -- coming more than two years before the governor will face re-election. The fund's founder, Democratic consultant Bud Jackson, said the assault was partially timed to coincide with state budget deliberations this month.

"Why hasn't it happened sooner?" he said in regard to the timing. "Our purpose is twofold: to alert Pennsylvania people who are too busy working jobs to follow day to day what the governor's been doing ... and the second purpose is to say to the governor [that] we're watching you from now on and you will not get away without consequences."

The fund is not a super-PAC, but rather a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which allows it to run ads on political issues and avoid federal campaign contributor disclosure laws.

In a video posted on his anti-Corbett website, Mr. Jackson criticizes right-wing advertisers such as Crossroads GPS for having "the audacity" to spend millions "to protect and promote a partisan and greedy agenda" but he would not identify who is funding his own ads.

He said his ad funding (of "several hundred thousand dollars") was coming from within Pennsylvania and he needed to protect donors "fearful of a vengeful governor."

"I'm for full disclosure, but that is not the hand we're being dealt on my side of the aisle," Mr. Jackson said in a phone interview. "Democrats and working class people in general are getting hammered over the head by people outspending us probably 100 to 1. …

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