In a one-two-punch, dark money group Crossroads GPS is back with a new ad — the second in as many weeks — hitting Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic contender for U.S. Senate in North Dakota.
“Forgot” comes a week after Crossroads GPS voluntarily pulled another Heitkamp attack ad for what a spokesman called “content issues.” The ad accused Heitkamp of spending taxpayer dollars on private airplanes when she was attorney general of the state, a claim Heitkamp denounced as “completely false.” The planes were, in fact, donated to North Dakota in 1993 by the Department of Defense.
Heitkamp faces Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., in the U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad.
The new ad accuses Heitkamp of establishing a pay-to-play relationship with an out-of-state trial lawyer when she was attorney general, a position she held from 1993 through 2000. Heitkamp tapped Jack McConnell, Jr., a Rhode Island attorney, to help the state implement its settlement in the Big Tobacco lawsuit of the 1990s, in which 46 attorneys general, including Heitkamp, sued major tobacco companies to recover tobacco-related health care costs.
The ad misleadingly suggests the firm got paid millions from the state’s coffers, when, in fact, the attorney’s fees came via the settlement, paid by the tobacco companies, according to Forum, a North-Dakota based media company.
Forum’s fact-check found that many of the claims in the ad are not completely true.
“Forgot” cost $162,000, according to a press release from Crossroads GPS, and is slated to run statewide for one week.
Heitkamp fought back immediately after the ad’s release, calling the claims “absolutely not true,” the Bismarck Tribune reported.
Heitkamp will get some support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has its own ads in the works. Last week, the DSCC reported spending more than $180,000 in support of Heitkamp’s campaign, records show.
Crossroads GPS is a “social welfare” nonprofit organized under section 501(c)(4) of the U.S. tax code and is not
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