Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal, Freedom Partners Action Fund

Why Three TV Stations Pulled the Plug on a Political Ad (Watch the Ad Here)

May 10, 2016  •  Post A Comment

Three TV stations have pulled a political ad created by a group funded by the Koch brothers. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the three Wisconsin stations — WMSN-TV in Madison and WLUK-TV and WGBA-TV in Green Bay — stopped running the spot after receiving a letter from lawyers for former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold.

The letter from Jonathan Berkon and David Lazarus of the Perkins Coie law firm, which represents Feingold’s campaign, calls the commercial “false, misleading and deceptive,” and adds: “For the sake of both FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, your station must immediately cease airing this advertisement.”

The spot comes from the Freedom Partners Action Fund, which is reportedly funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch and is backing U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in his Senate race against Feingold. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the group is revising the ad.

At the center of the controversy is the ad’s claim that Feingold ignored a 2009 memo detailing allegations of prescription drug abuse at the Tomah VA hospital, the Journal reports. The ad features a whistleblower talking about alleged falsified records and other problems at the clinic.

“The original ad … includes an interview with Tomah whistleblower Ryan Honl, who claimed Feingold received a 2009 memo from a union alleging abusive overprescription of drugs was occurring at the hospital. The ad has been revised and will be worked into a $2 million ad buy, according to Freedom Partners Action Fund,” the Journal reports.

Here’s the original ad …


  1. Deny, deny, deny. Blame the whistleblower.

  2. So, Feingold is holding the commercial up “for now” but doesn’t appear to have brought forth any evidence to date to refute the claims made by the whistleblower. The injunction should have read “For the sake of both FCC Licensing requirements and the express, selfish reason of Mr. Feingold” blah, blah, blah. Old slippery Russ can try to stall out the clock, but he won’t be successful.

    • Actually, isn’t it up to the MAKERS of the commercial to have to prove THEIR claims? Feingold’s office may have received this memo, but it doesn’t mean it was “ignored.” Maybe Feingold passed it along to someone on the right Senate committee. Maybe someone on his staff dealt with the memo. Maybe any action got caught up in the legislative swamp that is Congress. Maybe the problems at the VA have something to do with the GOP cutting back funding requests, or starting unnecessary wars in the first place.

      When it comes to ethics and being “slippery,” most people in Wisconsin will likely back their senator over two of the richest energy tycoons in the world.

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