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National Republican Trust PAC Controversy, after “Terror-Pandering” Immigration Ad

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 11/24/2008 at 7:52pm

Today Media Matters has a post slamming political commentator Dick Morris for failure to disclose major contributions that could have led him to provide the National Republican Trust PAC with free publicity during the election. According to Media Matters:

Since the beginning of October, Dick Morris has repeatedly used his columns and Fox News appearances to promote and raise money for the National Republican Trust PAC without disclosing that the organization has paid $24,000 to a company apparently connected to Morris, according to FEC filings. During that time, Morris’ email newsletter has frequently included ads that state: “Paid for by The National Republican Trust PAC.”

license to killJust what kind of material was paid for by the PAC?

Last month, Factcheck.org ripped apart a highly-charged immigration ad that was circulating during the last weeks of the election, sponsored by the independent PAC. The ad was designated, “one of the sleaziest false TV ads of the campaign,” according to Factcheck.org, a site that combs through ads to determine their validity. It conflated the 9/11 terrorists with undocumented men and women working in this country.

Factcheck.org describes it this way:

The ad begins with the ominous warning that “Barack Obama’s plan gives a driver’s license to any illegal who wants one.” More alarmingly, the ad flashes a picture of a Florida driver’s license featuring 9/11 mastermind Mohammed Atta. The ad then goes on to claim that Obama’s “plan” provides illegal immigrants with Social Security and health care benefits and would raise taxes to pay for it.

Hardly a word in the ad is true.

What might the ad be lying about? To cite Factcheck.org:

Let’s start with the incendiary implication that Obama’s “plan” would somehow enable terrorists like Atta. That’s ridiculous. It’s true that Atta did use a Florida driver’s license to board the plane he hijacked. It’s also irrelevant. Atta entered the U.S. legally, using a tourist visa, so laws about licenses for illegal immigrants wouldn’t have affected him anyway.

That’s right. The 9/11 terrorists performed their despicable deed with full and proper documentation. Their horrific acts have nothing to do with our current dysfunctional immigration system, no matter how many times Lou Dobbs tries to convince us otherwise.

But there’s more:

For that matter, The Cato Institute’s Jim Harper, who advises the Department of Homeland Security on data privacy, describes NRT PAC’s claim as “despicable” and says that it is “terror-pandering of the highest order.”

With tactics like these flourishing, we have to look at another kind of “terror” that is spreading. It is no coincidence that hate crimes against Latinos and immigrants have reached record levels and that hate speech, death threats, and vandalism are increasing in our cultural landscape, as they continue to permeate our political landscape. The brutal murder of Marcello Lucero, 38, an Ecuadorian immigrant stabbed to death by seven teens in Suffolk County is just the most recent, tragic example.



The latest National Republican Trust PAC controversy uncovered by Media Matters comes as little surprise to those who have seen the depths of where the PAC is willing to go.

This kind of “terror-pandering” has no place in our politics, our immigration debate, or our elections, and this latest development should cause us to further investigate the motives behind these kinds of questionable tactics.

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