The Koch brothers had to pull an ad they were running against Rep. Pete Gallego (D-TX) after a television station refused to air it because it was dishonest. The Kochs responded by editing the ad to make it even more dishonest.
Here is the original ad that a television station refused to air:
Here is the original ad text:
They are our veterans. They gave their all, for us. But Washington isn’t protecting them. Our Texas VA clinics have some of the longest wait times in the nation. And these waits can be deadly. Congressman Pete Gallego admits he knew about it, yet did nothing to fix it. Refused to cosponsor the VA Management Accountability Act. Tell Pete Gallego fight for our veterans. Hold the VA accountable.
The problem is that the allegation made in the ad is false. The ad claims that Gallego was against the VA Management Accountability Act, but the Democratic congressman voted for the bill.
After a local NBC affiliate pulled the ad, the Koch brothers responded with a minor edit to the ad that was still a lie.
Here is the new text of the ad:
These are our veterans. They gave their all, for us. But Washington isn’t protecting them. Our Texas VA clinics have some of the longest wait times in the nation. And these waits can be deadly. Congressman Pete Gallego admits he knew about it, yet he let our veterans wait. And refused to cosponsor the VA Management Accountability Act. Tell Pete Gallego fight for our veterans. Hold the VA accountable.
The Gallego campaign responded with a statement, “We appreciate this Koch Brothers front group admitting that their first ad was a lie and taking it down but this new ad is actually even more dishonest. Texas veterans deserve much better than to be the target of this misinformation campaign from our opponent’s extremist friends.”
One of the biggest problems with our current campaign finance system is that not only can the Koch brothers lie at will, but there is no penalty for their lies. In fact, it can be beneficial to a Republican candidate to flood the airwaves with lies about their opponent as long as the source is a shady dark money group that can never be held accountable.
These tactics are less effective against well-funded candidates in Senate and presidential contests, but in a House race where incumbent Democrats may have few if any outside groups working to debunk the lies, candidates are often left to fend for themselves as the Koch machine dumps millions of dollars worth of false ads into a congressional district.
The Koch front groups don’t need to worry about apologizing when they get caught in a lie. They just double down and spread an even bigger lie. House races across the country are where the toxic impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision can be seen every day. Democrats are fighting back in every way that they can, but the playing field won’t be level until the Koch dollars are out of our campaign finance system.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association