The political ads are starting to hit the airwaves.
The one-minute spot was produced by NextGen Climate, a 501(c)(4) organization led by billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer made headlines recently when he announced his campaign to raise awareness about climate change.
The ad hammers Corbett on education cuts and the issues with the budget but focuses mainly on his ties to oil and gas companies.
“Oil and gas companies gave Corbett $1.7 billion in political contributions and he gave them a sweetheart deal on taxes that’s costing Pennsylvania billions,” the ad asserts.
“Pennsylvanians are challenging Tom Corbett to come clean, release the records of your meetings with donors that you’ve been hiding. Disclose all the contributions, letters and emails from oil and gas lobbyists who influence you,” the narrator continues.
“We’ve got a right to know who Tom Corbett’s listening to, because it sure isn’t us,” the spot concludes.
Not surprisingly, the Republican Governor’s Association were not happy about the ad and chose to attack Steyer.
“These misleading attacks launched against Governor Corbett by billionaire Tom Steyer are stunningly hypocritical,” said RGA Communications Director Gail Gitcho. “For years, Steyer profited big by investing in the kind of energy projects Pennsylvania relies on for good jobs and affordable energy, but now he’s out to curry favor with the far left by bankrolling Tom Wolf’s campaign under the guise of climate change advocacy. It’s clear that Tom Steyer is a hypocritical liberal billionaire with personal political ambitions, and it’s wrong that his out-of-touch ideology could stand in the way of hard working Pennsylvanians’ ability to provide for their families.”
On NextGen’s website, Steyer writes an essay about his change of heart concerning climate change.
Since the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, 501(c)(4) organizations which can advocate for issues and candidates without disclosing their donors have become a powerful political fixture. That is to say, expect plenty more of these ads to come.
Update: Corbett-Cawley Communications Director Chris Pack issued the following response:
“It’s no secret that millionaire Secretary Tom Wolf is bought and paid for by special interest groups. Wolf refuses to acknowledge our state’s pension crisis because he’s received $1.1 million from the public sector unions.”
“Now we are seeing that Wolf’s anti-coal policies, such as his cap-and-tax proposal that would jeopardize over 62,000 Pennsylvania jobs, has resulted in him benefitting through millions of dollars in attack ads against Governor Tom Corbett from San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer.”
“Tom Steyer is a hypocrite who made his fortune by investing in the coal industry who is now waging a war on coal because it will benefit him financially. It’s similar to how Wolf, who made his millions outsourcing jobs to other states and moving his company to Delaware is now pretending to be pro-Pennsylvania — because it benefits Wolf.”