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Updated: Boswell, IDP respond to Crossroads ad
The Iowa Democratic Party struck back at Crossroads GPS today, a 501(c)4 organization that’s begun running ads against U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Des Moines). Meanwhile, Boswell’s campaign is asking for contributions to help respond to the ad, which attacks Boswell for supporting President Obama’s stimulus plan and jobs bill.
“This morning Karl Rove’s shadowy corporate special interest group American Crossroads, began running ads blaming Congressman Boswell for America’s economic crisis. This blatant attempt to smear and distort the Congressman’s record is downright shameful,” wrote Joshua Sulier in an email from the Boswell for Congress campaign.
The campaign is asking for contributions to raise an additional $10,000 for the campaigns “rapid response fund” to fight attack ads.
“Faceless millionaires will not sway this election! Please add $10 to our grassroots fund today,” Sulier wrote. “Together we can prove the people are stronger than the special interests.”
Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky said the ad shows Karl Rove, who’s behind the Crossroads GPS, is trying to help U.S. Rep. Tom Latham (R-Ames) defend a “record of supporting corporate loopholes and opposing a plan to create jobs and strengthen the middle class.”
Latham opted to move and take on Boswell in the state’s newly drawn 3rd Congressional District rather than stay in the 4th District and battle U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Kiron). National political observers say the race could be a bellwether for which party gains control of the U.S. House, and may be one of the most expensive in the country.
According to OpenSecrets.org, Crossroads GPS spent $15.1 million against Democrats in the 2009-10 cycle and $479,619 for Republicans. It spent another $1.1 million on electioneering communications. The group doesn’t disclose its donors.
The group has spent $85,125 so far at KCCI, the local CBS affiliate in Des Moines and the state’s largest network TV station. The group has run ads since late June, and recently spent $13,472 for ads running between Oct. 25 and Nov. 3. At least a portion of the ads being run in Iowa target Democratic U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell.
American Crossroads, a related “super PAC,” raised $26.5 million in 2010 and spent $21.5 million. It raised and spent the most out of any independent expenditure-only committees in 2010. The super PAC, which must disclose its donors, has raised $6.6 million so far this cycle.
“Tom Latham and Karl Rove think they can buy this election with anonymous, special interest money. They should know better,” Dvorsky said. “Iowans take a serious look at the candidates and the issues facing our state. On all accounts, Congressman Boswell has been a fighter for this state and has the record of fiscal responsibility and leadership to prove it.”
Latham has not yet responded to a request for comment on the ads.
A spokesman for Latham’s office did not directly respond to whether Latham supports an extension of Social Security payroll tax cuts, a major part of the American Jobs Act. On Latham’s website it says he “will oppose — and fight against — any increases in Social Security payroll taxes.”
But the spokesman, Fred Love, said most Americans don’t agree with the tax increases that are also a part of Obama’s jobs plan.
“Even the president acknowledged just a few months ago that raising tax rates while the economy is in such a fragile condition is counterproductive,” Love said. “On this matter, Congressman Latham agrees with the president and believes that raising taxes at this time will only put us in an even deeper hole and further stifle an environment needed for job creation.”
And Latham campaign spokesman James Carstensen didn’t respond to the IDP and Boswell campaign’s attacks on Crossroads and Latham, or on whether the ad is a precursor for a potentially nasty 3rd Congressional District race.
“Congressman Latham is focused on fighting for and advancing policies that will foster job and economic growth,” Carstensen said. “We will wait to focus on politics and elections next year.”
(Editor’s note: This report was updated at 3:35 p.m. to include comments from U.S. Rep. Latham’s office.)