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Strong campaign asks TV stations to remove “false and misleading” ad

The ads were created and funded by the House Freedom Action PAC and cite a county commission meeting that never occurred.

(STOCK)

Dale Strong’s campaign has filed a contest with several Alabama TV stations, asking in a letter that they not air an ad from the House Freedom Action political action committee supporting Casey Wardynski that Strong’s campaign alleges contains several “false and misleading” statements and contains a “nonexistent source” for an erroneous claim. Strong and Wardynski are in a runoff for the congressional seat currently held by Mo Brooks. 

The Strong campaign’s attorney, Robert Lockwood, sent the letter to four TV stations in the Huntsville market. The letter states that under FCC laws, the stations bear responsibility for the contents of the ad, because it originated from a PAC and not a candidate’s campaign. It also points out that the stations have a duty, under federal law, to “protect the public from false, misleading or deceptive advertising.” 

“For the sake of FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, your station should refuse to continue to air this advertisement until and unless it is corrected,” Lockwood wrote. 

Specifically, Strong’s campaign took issue with two statements in the ad: that Strong voted to raise taxes and that he “shunned President Trump.” 

Lockwood’s letter states that Strong, who has served on the Madison County Commission for several years, never voted to raise taxes and that the meeting minutes cited by the ad don’t exist. The ad cites a Sept. 4, 2004, Commission meeting as its source for the information. However, according to Lockwood, no meeting took place on that date. 

Additionally, Strong took issue with the assertion that he “shunned” Trump. The Lockwood letter cites the dictionary.com definition for “shunned” and includes a number of social media posts from Strong in which he demonstrated support for the former president. 

Attempts to reach anyone associated with Freedom Fund, or its primary listed agent, Lance Kolbet, were unsuccessful. 

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This is not the first time that Freedom Fund has been accused of overstepping the legal line. In 2015, the PAC reported itself to the Federal Elections Commission for violations related to receiving excessive contributions and failure to report some contributions. 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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