Those Restoring America TV ads are back — not that every station in town stopped running them anyway.
This may be the most compelling drama of the entire gubernatorial campaign. You’ll recall that on Monday a Frankfort judge issued a restraining order on the Restoring America group because it wouldn’t reveal who was financing the $1.3 million that was being spent on (editorializing here) stupid, poorly-done ads critical of Steve Beshear. At a hearing yesterday, Judge Thomas Wingate lifted the order after, according to the Herald-Leader, “the group disclosed that its sole donor was the father-in-law of Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams. The group has spent more than $1.3 million to air television ads critical of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and complimentary of Williams.”
Locally, WDRB and WHAS pulled the ads after Monday’s ruling. WAVE and WLKY, according to my sources. kept them running.
Now you can expect Steve Beshear to get on the air to claim that the Williams campaign has been running illegal ads. He’ll say that ads against him have been financed by his opponent’s father-in-law, and that’s against the law. A campaign can, basically, run an ad with the candidate saying anything he wants.
There is a law that groups like Restoring America, known as a 527, aren’t allowed to coordinate messages with campaigns. So we’re supposed to believe, as Williams claims, that he has nothing to do with the Restoring America campaign financed by his father-in-law. It would be hard to prove that Williams was involved in the strategy of Restoring America, and no one will attempt to prosecute him for it.
With the election less than three weeks away, and Williams still trailing by massive margins in the polls, expect to see plenty of TV spots from both sides.