Kilroy Campaign Sends Cease and Desist Letters to Columbus TV Stations on Stivers Ad


Lawyers for the Kilroy for Congress campaign sent a letter to Columbus area TV Stations and cable providers asking for them to stop airing a new television ad paid for by Steve Stivers which contains false statements, about which we wrote earlier today.

A press release from the campaign said:

The ad, which has been deemed by independent media sources as, “ludicrous” and “red-baiting,” are a crass attempt by the Stivers campaign to completely malign Mary Jo Kilroy’s record and an irresponsible attempt to mislead Central Ohio Voters.

As we noted earlier today, the ad claims that Congresswoman Kilroy voted to use taxpayer funds to create and grow jobs in China.

It “questions Congresswoman Kilroy’s loyalty to her country,” the letter says. 

Ohio law prohibits a candidate for political office from disseminating through a television advertisement “a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.”

In their statement, the Kilroy campaign said:

A cursory review of the evidence could have alerted Stivers to the fact that his advertisement is false.  Therefore, Stivers either knew the ad to be false or
disseminated the ad with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity.  In either case, the ad violates Ohio law and may not be disseminated.

Independent news outlets have found that the claims made in Stivers’s
advertisement are patently untrue, said the campaign. 

The Columbus Dispatch called the ad, “ludicrous” and “red-baiting.”  Further, the Dispatch states, “The ad exploits fears of China and questions Kilroy’s loyalty to the United States by showing images of Chairman Mao and Kilroy’s image against the U.S. and Chinese flags.

The full text of the letter is below:

As attorney for the Kilroy for Congress campaign, I write to request that you cease airing an advertisement created by Republican congressional candidate Steve Stivers that contains false and misleading statements about Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy.

On or about October 20, 2010, your television station began airing an advertisement, created and approved by Stivers, containing false and misleading statements about Congresswoman Kilroy’s record during her first term in Congress.  The ad claims that Congresswoman Kilroy voted to use taxpayer funds to create and grow jobs in China and questions Congresswoman Kilroy’s loyalty to her country.  The advertisement is intended to deceive the electorate in Ohio’s 15th congressional district about Congresswoman Kilroy’s distinguished career faithfully serving the people of central Ohio.

Independent news outlets have found that the claims made in Stivers’s advertisement are patently untrue.  The Pulitzer Prize-winning, non-partisan fact-checking website PolitiFact found that identical statements made by Sarah Palin and Austin Scott, a congressional candidate in Georgia, were false. 

Politifact, February 17, 2010; Politifact, October 19, 2010.

And the Columbus Dispatch calls Stivers’s ad “ludicrous” and “red-baiting.”  Columbus Dispatch, October 22, 2010.

Ohio law prohibits a candidate for political office from disseminating through a television advertisement “a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.” Ohio Revised Code § 3517.21(B)(10).  A cursory review of the evidence could have alerted Stivers to the fact that his advertisement is false.  Therefore, Stivers either knew the ad to be false or disseminated the ad with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity. 

In either case, the ad violates Ohio law and may not be disseminated.

Each time the advertisement airs more voters will be unlawfully deceived about Congresswoman Kilroy’s record.  I ask that you cease to airing Stivers’s false and misleading advertisement immediately to preserve the integrity of the congressional election for Ohio’s 15th District.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

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