While many of the independent groups trying to shape the outcome of the November election expressly endorse or criticize a candidate, some aim to highlight issues. Readers in both Grants Pass, Ore. and St. Paul, Minn. report seeing an independent ad run by BankruptingAmerica.org, a project paid for by a group called Public Notice.
Public Notice describes itself as an “independent non-profit dedicated to providing facts and insight on the economy and how government policy affects Americans’ financial well-being.” Contributions to the group are not tax-deductible,
The lone TV ad on Bankrupting America’s YouTube channel is a 30-second spot called “Stop Digging.” The commercial blasts Washington, D.C. for “Spending and spending” and putting the nation $13 trillion in debt. After suggesting that one in a hole should “stop digging,” viewers are invited to the website BankruptingAmerica.org to find out how to hold Congress accountable.
Because the ads do not mention a specific federal candidate, they do not have to be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission. And since the group is a 501(c)(4), it does not have to reveal its donors. The ad disclaimer only notes that it was “Paid for by Public Notice.”
According to the Public Notice website, the group’s executive director is Gretchen Hamel. Hamel served as deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for public and media affairs under President George W. Bush. Prior to that, she was press secretary to the House Republican Conference and to Texas Republican Congressman John Carter.
The Bankrupting America website takes both major parties to task over government spending, and includes one video pointing out the spending habits of Hamel’s former boss, President Bush, as well as his successor, President Barack Obama.
Ad Title: Stop Digging
Paid for By: Public Notice
Disclaimer: Paid for by Public Notice
Read more in Money and Democracy
A Center interview with lawyer John J. Sullivan