Senate races

Koch network super-PAC launches ad buys in Wisconsin, Nevada

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A top Koch network group on Monday launched seven-figure ad buys in Wisconsin and Nevada attacking the Democratic candidates running in competitive Senate races.

Freedom Partners Action Fund, a super-PAC that spearheads the conservative donor network helmed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, released a $2 million TV and digital ad buy in Wisconsin knocking former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) over the opioid over-prescription scandal at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

{mosads}The ad, titled “The Real Story,” featured VA whistleblower Ryan Honl saying that Feingold received a memo about the issue in 2009 and blamed him that “nothing was done.”

“Russ Feingold ignored veterans concerns while veterans were dying at the facility,” Honl said in the ad.

Feingold’s campaign hit back calling the ad “false” and knocked his rival Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) over veterans’ issues.

“Sen. Johnson failed to protect our veterans, so instead of accepting responsibility, he and his allies have blamed his own staff and actively politicized a tragedy to the tune of over $2 million in dark money attack ads,” spokesman Michael Tyler said in a statement.

“If Johnson’s hands were clean, he’d demand that Freedom Partners take down this misleading ad. But don’t expect much from a senator who’s been content to let billionaires and outside interests bully Wisconsinites to distract from his own failed record.”

This isn’t the first time outside groups have weighed in on this issue., a progressive veterans group, launched a radio ad campaign in February accusing Johnson of ignoring whistleblower warnings about the VA issues. A month earlier, conservative outside group Wisconsin Alliance for Reform released a radio ad also accusing Feingold for not addressing the issues.

Feingold and Johnson are locked in what is considered one of the most competitive Senate races this cycle.

Freedom Partners also launched a $1 million TV and digital ad buy hitting former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and dubbing her “another special interest politician.”

The ads blasted Cortez Masto for hiring a Washington, D.C., law firm during Nevada’s foreclosure crisis and accused the firm of making “millions on the mortgage settlements” as well as donating to her campaign.

“Catherine Cortez Masto could have done the job taxpayers were paying her to do, but, instead, she used the housing crisis to reward political cronies in Washington, D.C., with a lucrative contract,” Freedom Partners spokesman Bill Riggs said in a statement. “Cortez Masto got campaign contributions, her friends got millions of dollars, and Nevada got another special-interest politician.”

Cortez Masto’s campaign pushed back on the ads and called them “false attacks.” The campaign also took aim at Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and tied him to Wall Street. 

“Washington Republicans are lying about Catherine Cortez Masto’s record because they know as Nevada’s next Senator, she will focus on solving problems for Nevada families, not pushing their extreme agenda,” spokesman Zach Hudson said in a statement. “The truth is: as Nevada’s Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto held the Big Banks accountable and helped deliver $1.9 billion in relief to Nevadans.”

“Congressman Heck took more than $300,000 from Wall Street after he sponsored a bill to give tax breaks to Big Banks – the same Big Banks that gave out bad loans and caused Nevada’s foreclosure crisis,” he added.

Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), the establishment favorite, and 2010 GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle are both running for the GOP nomination as they seek retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) seat.

Freedom Partners has expanded their involvement in Senate races after launching ad buys in Ohio attacking former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. He will face off against vulnerable GOP Sen. Rob Portman.

Tags Harry Reid Rob Portman Ron Johnson

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