With their record, you’d think they’d be worried about their own job security
Norm Coleman is getting some unexpected (yeah…right) help in Minnesota:
Americans for Job Security, a Virginia-based interest group that opposes the reelection of Democratic U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone, has made an unprecedented $1 million ad buy that will fill the airwaves in the last two weeks before the election, according to Wellstone campaign officials.
Campaign manager Jeff Blodgett said the buy is so large that it may equal what Wellstone and Republican rival Norm Coleman and the two state parties each are expected to spend on media in the closing weeks.
Who are these mysterious “Americans” who are for Job Security? Well a partial answer can be found here:
Americans for Job Security, a 501 (c)(6) trade association, grew out of the Coalition, a loose confederation of business groups that ran issue ads in 1996 to oppose the AFL-CIO’s $35 million campaign. After the Coalition split in 1997 over a dispute over strategy, Robert Vagley, president of the American Insurance Association (AIA), formed Americans for Job Security. The AIA contributed $1 million to found AJS; the American Forest and Paper Association also gave $1 million. David Carney, onetime political director in the Bush White House, serves as executive director of AJS. Michael Dubke, former head of the Ripon Society, is the president of AJS. Benjamin Ginsberg, counsel to AJS, was also counsel to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. Others associated with AJS include Republican consultant Eddie Mahe and Leigh Ann Pusey, a former aide to Newt Gingrich, who now serves as AIA=s chief lobbyist.
The AIA claims that it is no longer a member of AJS and does not contribute to the group. As a 501 (c) (6) trade association, AJS does not have to disclose its donors. Since its ads do not engage in express advocacy, AJS does not need to form a political action committee. Dubke told the Omaha World-Herald, “We don=t discuss our members. The reason is we find that in other groups that have attempted to do what we’re doing, that their membership becomes the issue rather than the issue they’re trying to advocate. Y We find that sticking to a strict mantra of not discussing our members allows our issue to come to the forefront.” The American Prospect claimed that pharmaceutical companies are among the “primary funders” of AJS.
They don’t have the best record though. Some snips:
During a high-profile special House election in California in early 1998, AJS reportedly spent $50,000 on a television commercial praising the conservative economic record of GOP nominee Tom Bordonaro. Bordonaro lost. Media reports show that AJS spent $2 million on television ads in the fall of 1998 that attacked Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).
According to the Wall Street Journal, AJS spent at least $200,000 on ads criticizing Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and $100,000 against Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC). Both senators were re-elected. AJS also ran ads criticizing Rep. Jay Johnson (D-WI) and praising Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT). Jay Johnson lost and Nancy Johnson won.
AJS claims to have spent $10 to $12 million on political ads in 2000. It played its most visible roles in three Senate races. AJS ran just over $700,000 in advertisements praising Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-MI) and attacking his opponent, Rep. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). This included an ad campaign in black newspapers accusing Stabenow of being racist and holding her responsible for the FAIR ads attacking Abraham.
The Omaha World-Herald reported in October 2000 that AJS planned to spend $250,000 on ads criticizing Ben Nelson, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Nebraska. One spot featured Sen. Chuck Hagel and Gov. Mike Johanns questioning statements Nelson, a former governor himself, had made about federal regulation of drinking water.
AJS was also active in Washington, supporting Sen. Slade Gorton (R). Eddie Mahe has been a consultant to AJS and a senior adviser to Gorton. In March 2000, AJS ran spots on cable TV promoting Gorton’s record on education.  AJS spent $105,000 on ads praising Gorton for his opposition to removing dams on the Snake River. The spots ran in June on television stations in eastern Washington, where dam removal is a major issue. AJS also sponsored an advertisement attacking Democratic nominee Maria Cantwell that ran before she won her primary in September.
For those keeping score at home: Nelson, Stabenow, and Cantwell all won in 2000. These guys strike out more than a blindfolded Mo Vaughan.