The National Organization for Marriage, a conservative group that opposes marriage equality, has a Super PAC (dark money) that has bought $200,000 in TV ads for the final days of important U.S. Senate races in North Carolina and Arkansas.
The Arkansas Democratic Party says the Arkansas version of the ad hits a new low in using film of an Arkansas college student lured into a video by the discredited undercover filmmaker James O’Keefe. The statement from the Democratic Party:
“This shameful ad exploits a young Arkansan and reveals personal details to the public without her consent. This has been a hard fought campaign, but surely we can all agree that the personal lives of college students have no place in this arena. This is dirty politics at its most craven, plain and simple, and Congressman Cotton needs to do the right thing and denounce this despicable attack on a young Arkansan.”
Sen. Mark Pryor has said he supports the traditional view of marriage, as between a man and woman. O’Keefe had, until now, fallen flat in attempting to whip up press coverage he did of heavily edited and ambiguous statements from a college student on whether she believed Mark Pryor supported same-sex marriage despite his public position. O’Keefe described as a Pryor insider, among other wild exaggerations of the content of the undercover filming. An O’Keefe confederate claimed to the student to be a potential Pryor donor who wanted reassurances on his position before contributing money. The NOM ad uses some of that footage to pose the question of whether Mark Pryor can be trusted on marriage. It says Tom Cotton will “fight to restore our vote for marriage.”
NOM is one of the more virulent anti-gay groups. It doesn’t disclose donors. It spent heavily in the fight to ban same-sex marriage in California. Some have speculated financial backing from Mormon or conservative Catholic sources. Its former president Maggie Gallagher, has a checkered past you can read here.
O’Keefe’s work in Arkansas was shoddy even by his low standards, a record that includes a federal conviction for entering Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in an attempted sting and a sting on ACORN that wrecked the organization even though O’Keefe’s film had demonstrable shortcomings.
UPDATE: No response from the Cotton campaign.
UPDATE: Maybe the wealthy Paul Singer, a huge backer of gay marriage who threw a $600,000 fund-raiser for Cotton and a couple of other Senate candidates, will call Cotton and ask him to be a mensch.