Federal Politics

Published — October 31, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Daily Disclosure: Super PACs aim to spook voters with Halloween ads

Negative ads with a Halloween twist hit the airwaves

Introduction

Outside spenders are getting in the holiday spirit with Halloween-themed ads designed to scare voters away from the targeted candidates.

A foggy cemetery, a haunted house and shadowy figures loom in House Majority PAC’s ad, as the narrator speaks in a quivering voice pretending to be a ghost, explaining why voters should be afraid of Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, the Republican candidate running in Texas’ 23rd District.

The narrator suddenly cuts the ghost voice and says, “This isn’t a Halloween story, though it is scary. It’s Quico Canseco’s — a person and a story that fits right into Washington.”

One of the ads main claims — that Canseco owes hundreds of thousands in liens over unpaid payroll taxes and contracting fees — was reported by the San Antonio Express-News in July 2010.

Canseco disputes the claim. He said the bulk of what is owed is a result of disagreements between contractors and tenants on properties he owns and that he was only named because he is the landlord.

Canseco faces Democratic challenger Pete Gallego, a Texas state representative. House Majority PAC’s Halloween ad is part of a $415,000 buy in Texas’ 23rd District, a Republican-leaning swing district.

The race has seen $6.6 million in outside spending, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Conservative spenders are also using the holiday to their advantage.

“Kathy Hochul promised us lots of treats…But Hochul tricked us!” says the childlike narrator of the Congressional Leadership Fund’s new ad opposing the Democratic congresswoman in New York’s 27th District.

The animated “Trick or Treat,” which shows children in costumes, ghosts gliding by and bats flapping across the screen, says “Hochul treated herself – personally profiting from companies that outsource and do business with China.”

The claim is supposedly based on Hochul’s personal investments in companies that manufacture products in China; however, an accusation first made by the conservative news outlet, Washington Free Beacon.

Hochul has also criticized her Republican challenger, businessman Chris Collins, for benefitting from outsourcing, though the Buffalo News has called those claims misleading.

The trick-or-treat ad, airing in Buffalo and Rochester, cost $900,000, according to a press release. New York’s 27th District has seen more than $5 million in outside spending, according to CRP.

First-term incumbent Hochul is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats, according to The New York Times.

In other outside spending news:

Conservative super PAC American Crossroads reported spending $14.1 million on ads opposing President Barack Obama and Democrats in U.S. Senate and House races. It also released two new ads: “Silent” opposes Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. “No Slate” opposes Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who is running for U.S. Senate.

Its sister nonprofit Crossroads GPS reported spending $5.1 million and released a handful of new ads opposing Democrats:

  • Blew It” opposes former Maine Gov. Angus King, the independent candidate for U.S. Senate in the state;
  • Dictionary” opposes Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who is running for U.S. Senate in the state;
  • Roadblock” opposes former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in the state;
  • Down” opposes Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio;
  • MeadWestvaco” and “Both” oppose former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in the state;
  • Mesa de cocina” opposes Obama.

House Majority PAC also released:

  • Insider” opposing Rodney Davis, the Republican candidate for U.S. House in Illinois’ 13th District;
  • Representing You” opposing Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif.;
  • Extreme” opposing Jackie Walorski, the Republican candidate for U.S. House in Indiana’s 2nd District
  • Dine” opposing Georgia state Rep. Lee Anderson, the Republican candidate for U.S. House in Georgia’s 12th District;
  • Who We Are” opposing Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn.
  • About Women” opposing Vernon Parker, the Republican candidate for U.S. House in Arizona’s 9th District;
  • Why” opposing Jonathan Paton, the Republican candidate for U.S. House in Arizona’s 1st District;
  • Play by the Rules” opposing Quico Canseco (co-released with LCV Victory Fund, affiliated with the League of Conservation Voters);
  • Dream” supports Pete Gallego, Canseco’s Democratic challenger in Texas’ 23rd District.

Congressional Leadership Fund also released ads opposing Democratic candidates for U.S. House in four races:

  • Join Me’” opposes Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.;
  • Duck Hunt” opposes Gallego in Texas’ 23rd District;
  • Swept” opposes Rep. Gary McDowell, D-Mich;
  • Leech” opposes former Arizona state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic candidate in Arizona’s 9th District.

Conservative nonprofit Americans for Tax Reform released four new ads opposing Democrats:

  • Control” opposes former Rep. Charlie Wilson, running in Ohio’s 6th District;
  • Wrong Prescription for New York” and “Shocking” oppose Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y.;
  • Napkin” opposes Colorado state Rep. Sal Pace, the Democratic candidate for U.S. House in Colorado’s 3rd District.

Who paid for that political ad? You might be surprised by the answer. Email us and we will try to find out. Describe the advertisement — was it mean or nice? Will it affect your vote? When and where did it run and what were the names of the candidates? And PLEASE tell us what the disclaimer at the end says, and we will check it out.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT