New Senate Ad -- The Romney Connection?

A new TV ad apparently debuted today, praising Scott Brown and criticizing Martha Coakley -- who, according to the ad (which I was forwarded) "supports massive new spending and the tax increases to pay for it." This is the first third-party TV ad I'm aware of in the Senate race.

The ad was paid for by American Future Fund, which is an advocacy organization that launched last year, and which I have mentioned before on this blog -- mostly because of its Mitt Romney connections. The organization's staff and leadership includes at least five people I know of who worked on the Romney Presidential campaign, including his senior advisor Phil Musser.

Coincidentally, Scott Brown's campaign is led by such Romneyites as Peter Flaherty, Beth Lindstrom, Eric Fehrnstrom, and Priscilla Ruzzo. I say coincidentally, because the ad says right on it that American Future Fund is responsible for the content of the ad, and that the ad was not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. AFF is a 501(c)(4), and I'm pretty sure there's something somewhere that says they can't coordinate their ad campaign with the Brown campaign. So, it must be a coincidence that the first independent group to get financially involved in this race, and the people running the Brown operation, happen to both include Friends of Mitt. (I've put the question to a Brown spokesperson, who is checking for me, but unless I hear otherwise let's assume that they'll say that the campaign had absolutely nothing to do with AFF and the ad.)

To be fair, I'm quite certain that by the time it's all said and done there will be far more money spent on behalf of Martha Coakley by third-party groups who will have a hard time keeping a straight face as they claim to be acting entirely independently of the campaign.

And I really have no idea how big a buy this is; I should be able to find out through FEC 'independent expenditure' reporting tomorrow. Meanwhile, let me know if you see it on the tube!

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