RALEIGH – Pat McCrory’s gubernatorial campaign demanded Friday that television stations stop running a commercial bankrolled by a Democratic governor’s group, arguing it made false claims about his activities linked to a Charlotte-based business.
The ad, produced by another group called North Carolina Citizens for Progress, also should be taken off the air because it fails to tell viewers it was paid for by the Democratic Governors Association, according to a memo sent to stations by McCrory attorney Cleta Mitchell.
“Unless you stop airing the ad immediately, we will seek all legal remedies to force the ad off the air,” Mitchell wrote to TV station managers.
Michael Weisel, an attorney for N.C. Citizens for Progress, said late Friday the group is following campaign rules and the ad’s factual content is fully documented. “The group has fully complied with all North Carolina law and disclaimer requirements,” Weisel said.
The ad is the first broad on-the-air attack by Democrats against McCrory since he won last week’s GOP primary. The group’s ad buy was $217,000 for the next week, paid for by the Democratic Governors Association, according to Weisel.
The total payment for ad time ultimately will be comparable to a purchase of several hundred thousand dollars made by the Republican Governors Association for an ad that starting airing earlier this week, DGA spokesman Mark Giangreco said. The RGA’s ad attempts to link Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the newly chosen Democratic nominee, to the policies of outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue.
Friday’s DGA commercial seeks to tie McCrory’s position on the board of directors of Tree.com Inc. with financial settlements or penalties by company subsidiaries over lending or mortgage practices. McCrory was in his last year as Charlotte mayor when he joined the board in early 2009.
The DGA ad pointed to a 2006 letter then-mayor McCrory wrote to N.C. Commerce Secretary Jim Fain seeking help from the state with boosting economic incentives to discourage LendingTree, a Tree.com business, from going to South Carolina.
“He used his position as mayor to lobby state government for millions in tax breaks for the company,” the ad’s narrator says. But the memo by Mitchell said “under North Carolina law Pat McCrory did not lobby and was not a lobbyist in 2006.”