U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s campaign lawyer sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Mark Begich’s campaign demanding that it cease and desist the broadcast of an ad that’s been playing featuring the two together making a “great team.”
The ad, which has run on television and radio, has an “alarming lack of regard for the truth” and seeks to “mislead and deceive Alaskan voters,” the letter, written by Scott Kendall from Anchorage-based Holmes Weddell and Barcott, said. According to Kendall, the ads also constitute a “misappropriation of official U.S. Senate resources,” by featuring a picture of the two taken in Murkowski’s Senate office.
The use of Senate resources for campaign purposes is prohibited by federal law and Senate ethics rules.
The ad in question features Skip Nelson, who claims to be a lifelong Republican who supports both Begich and Murkowski who vote as much as “80 percent of the time together.” Nelson establishes his Republican bonafides in the ad by saying that he voted for Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski. Nat Hertz of the Alaska Dispatch News reported that Nelson is registered as an independent since at least 2000, and did not vote for Murkowski in 2010. Nelson told the paper that he attended several Murkowski fundraisers. The campaign said that there are no records of Nelson donating to the campaign.
The news facts
falsehoods uncovered in the ad didn’t deter Begich’s campaign. It stuck by it, the 80 percent claim and “Skip sharing his personal story.”
Murkowski’s lawyer said the Begich has an “obligation to ensure that the story is not a complete fabrication.”
Murkowski has objected to the ad since it first began to air. When asked if he would stop running the ad, Begich told Politico “maybe.” He didn’t. As of Thursday late morning, the ad was still on Begich’s campaign website.
“Please be advised that any future false advertisements naming Senator Murkowski, or any further misuse of her image, will not be tolerated,” Kendall says.
As of 11:30 a.m. Alaska time, Begich’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
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Correction: In the initial story, I wrote that Begich’s campaign was undeterred by “falsehood” in the ad. When I wrote that, I was unaware that Nelson said that although he didn’t vote in 2010, he did vote for Murkowski in 2004. Also, as Begich’s campaign pointed out, you can consider yourself a Republican and not register as a Republican.