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Updated: Group Re-Running Anti-Corbett Ad (Watch Video)

Anti-Corbett ads began running in late May and early June. The “Wide Open” ad aired second, but both promoted a similar theme – accusing Corbett of “making things harder” for the middle and working classes.

The ads are back, according to the PG.

The Post-Gazette’s Tim McNulty has the story:

Remember the largely anonymous Democratic-tied group that started running ads this spring assailing Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget cuts, two years before he faces reelection? The spots are running again.

American Working Families has bought time to replay its initial ad (called “Making Things Harder”) over the next 10 days. Asked about the buy, spokesman Bud Jackson said in an email that “Our effort is a long term strategy that will go beyond November.”

UPDATE: In response Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley pointed (as he has in the past) to Jackson’s working relationship with the House Democratic Campaign Committee:

“Once again, the favorite political consultant of convicted felons Bill DeWeese and Mike Veon is back to throw more mud. Bud Jackson won’t say who’s paying for these ambush attacks, but he certainly keeps some interesting company.”

Update: Jackson fired back at the Guv, noting that he too has ties with a politico who’s had run-ins with the law: RNC committeeman Bob Asher, who in 1986 was convicted of bribery, conspiracy, perjury and racketeering.

“Tom Corbett is silly enough to try to associate me with Bill DeWeese and Mike Veon whom I either broke ties with or whose problems I had nothing to do with,” he said.

“Pennsylvania people will now be surprised to know that Tom Corbett has taken millions of dollars from a convicted felon who is one of his right-hand men. Clearly, he says one thing and does another if the price is right.”

Update 2: It turns out several of the “American Working Families” are Canadian. The cover photo on AWF’s facebook page features a diverse group of 13 people, but many of them aren’t US residents. According to photographer Chris Futcher, who owns the stock image, said the picture was taken in Canada and several of the model are Canadian. It was flagged by Dennis Roddy, a spokesman for Governor Corbett.

Full disclosure: American Working Families advertised with this ad on PoliticsPA in May.

Update 3: The saga continues! This morning, Jackson and AWF released a statement criticizing Roddy’s comments on this story – and in the comment section below:

“While it is appropriate for the governor’s office to respond to the issues our organization has raised about the administration’s record it is entirely inappropriate for a state employee on state time and using taxpayer-funded resources to conduct political opposition research and to post political statements on a blog dedicated to politics. We view this as a taxpayer-funded act of political intimidation.”

The full statement is here.

Roddy defended his response, noting that he had looked into the matter back in May when the group first went on the air. He said that he looked into the group so that he could accurately answer media requests.

“We can’t answer somebody if we don’t know who this guy is,” he said.

“In May our office got calls from the press asking about Jackson’s attack on the governor’s record. Mind you, they didn’t call the campaign — they called the Governor’s Press Office. There is a reason: this is about a sitting governor’s performance.

“I was not practicing politics; I was engaging in journalism. It is common sense that in responding to critics, we find out who they are and share our findings with the same media that inquired.”

Update 4: Here’s Jackson’s response to Roddy’s response:

The fact remains that Roddy is a state staffer in the governor’s office who, on the taxpayer’s dime, who conducted opposition research while monitoring and responding to a blog dedicated to politics. It is obvious that this was highly inappropriate and went beyond what would be considered an appropriate and de mimimis political response.

Governor Corbett’s office clearly needs to be trained in office ethics and his communications office needs a lesson in how to properly refer political questions to the appropriate office.

Previous to monitoring a political blog and posting political attack on the blog dedicated to politics, Roddy conducted opposition research that went well beyond gathering information on an organization.  He sought to learn background information about people who appeared on our organization’s Facebook page.  Roddy even went to the trouble of finding the photographer of photo, learning where he resided or worked, and then contacted the photographer in Canada — while at work in the governor’s office.

Objective people who read the comments that Roddy posted on a political blog will arrive at the obvious conclusion that his actions were purely political in nature and had absolutely nothing to do with ”engaging in journalism.”

And, here is more from Roddy:

My job here is to find answers to questions and in May, when he started airing attack ads against the governor, the first question we got from the press was: who is Bud Jackson and why is he doing this?

So I entered his name in Google and out came the details. They weren’t pretty.

When I saw that photo at the top of his group’s Facebook page, the first question that came to mind was whether these might be the people passing themselves off as American Working Families, his group.

So, I pasted that photo into the Google search engine and up came a photographer in Toronto, who I telephoned just to make sure that this was indeed a stock photo.

In his tinfoil hat view of the world, Bud Jackson imagines a Google search to constitute sophisticated opposition research.

Mr. Jackson’s history of sleaze and hypocrisy makes it impossible to respond to his TV ads without pointing out the fact that these attacks are coming from someone who is ethically unqualified to advise the people of Pennsylvania on any matter of public importance.

13 Responses

  1. The carping about “political” posts “on company time” is nonsense. We’ve decided executives like the Governor get to hire communications people, and those people can communicate the governor’s message whenever and wherever. If Tom is being attacked, Dennis can defend him.

    But the whole conversation about some guy named “Bud,” his prior associations with gubernatorial scalps, and Canadian models is a woeful diversion.

    The ad is good. It shows that Corbett is cutting programs are crucial to the middle class, yet isn’t terribly spendthrift in his own administration. Seems substantive and very above-boards by today’s standards.

    What does it matter who is running it, if there are no inaccuracies to hold against somebody?

  2. Dennis Roddy is but the latest in a long string of journalist [redacted] who quit their job covering the hen house to go work for one of the foxes, because it pays better.

  3. “engaging in journalism” is posting comments on this website during the work day? How is “journalism” trying to dig-up dirt on people? Sound fishy to me.

  4. Are these very political posts from the Dennis Roddy whose salary is paid by the taxpayers of Pennsylvania? Who works for a guy who ascended to the Governor’s office by prosecuting those who illegally used staff for political purposes? That would be a sad, sad irony.

    Hope you’re taking a day off pal.

  5. Hi Kevin.

    Opposition research? Hardly.We were fielding questions about these ads when they started and immediately set out to figure out who and what we were answering. Bud has left quite a trail.

    There is nothing inappropriate about responding to falsehoods and unwarranted attacks on Tom Corbett’s job as governor. That’s why I used my full name and connections.

    Which brings up a logical question, Kevin: Who are you? And whose clock are you working on?

  6. Using “stock” photos is common. Its an ad.
    On tv all day we see political ads where actors and actresses portray a scenario.

  7. Since Dennis Roddy has so much time to be posting here, a trio of questions for Mr. Roddy:

    #1- Why is someone on the taxpayer’s payroll wasting their time opposition researching an outside political organization? Does the Governor consider this fiscally and ethically responsible use of your time?

    #2 – Why the hell does citizenship of models in a Facebook cover photo matter anyway? Its very telling that you don’t refute any of the claims in the ad, just attack the spokesman, his old clients and his use of a stock photo.

    #3 – When will Governor Corbett call for the House and Senate Republicans to pass the DISCLOSE ACT if he has such an issue with groups having anonymous donors? Here’s a tip: he can start with Pat Toomey, who can be reached at (202) 224-4254.

  8. Another Bud Jackson fun-fact: He is using stock photos of models for some of his “American Working Families” promotion. The photo was taken by Chris Futcher in his studio in Ontario.

    Futcher verifies: the models are all Canadians. That’s right. Bud Jackson is using stock photos of Canadians and passing them off as “America’s Working Families.”

    With that kind of attention to detail, you have to wonder who’s bankrolling Bud Jackson’s freelance campaign against Tom Corbett.

  9. Very sad that the commercial didn’t get re-edited to include Voter ID, which is Corbett’s law making it harder–or impossible–for registered voters to actually vote. This is a disgraceful abuse of power and a thoroughly dishonest way to get the equally-dishonest Romney/Ryan ticket elected. I hope the ACLU is successful in getting this cynical voter-suppression law overturned.

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