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With DeLay in Its Sights, MoveOn Targets 7 GOP Members

MoveOn PAC, the political arm of the liberal group MoveOn.org, will launch radio ads Thursday in the districts of seven potentially vulnerable Republican House Members, tarring them for their association with embattled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

The weeklong ad campaign comes on the heels of a radio ad blitz this week by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, accusing a dozen GOP House Members of not doing enough to support U.S. troops.

The seven Republican Members targeted by MoveOn are: Reps. Chris Chocola (Ind.), Melissa Hart (Pa.), Marilyn Musgrave (Colo.), Dave Reichert (Wash.), Rob Simmons (Conn.), Mike Sodrel (Ind.) and Heather Wilson (N.M.).

Reichert, Simmons and Sodrel are also targeted in the DCCC ads. MoveOn’s radio ads are in response to a Texas court ruling last week that officials of one of DeLay’s political action committees, TRMPAC, violated state campaign finance laws by failing to disclose more than half a million dollars in corporate contributions.

In the 60-second ad, the narrator begins, “Unless you’re driving, put your nose a little closer to the radio. Smell that? It’s the stench of corruption coming from Congressman Tom DeLay, the Republican leader in Congress.

“He’s already been nailed three times for ethics violations. Now he’s accused of misusing money from his children’s charity and taking expensive overseas trips paid for by lobbyists.

“And do you know why we can smell this abuse of power all the way out here in [Member’s state]? Because our Representative, [Member’s name], voted for DeLay to lead the Republican Congress and took [dollar amount] in donations from him.”

The ad goes on to urge listeners to call the Member’s office and urge him or her to “wash the stench away by firing Tom DeLay.”

MoveOn is spending $150,000 on the ads.

“That buys you a lot of time in these markets,” said Trevor FitzGibbon, a spokesman for the group.

MoveOn members will supplement the ad campaign with an anti-DeLay petition drive. They are dropping the petitions on the district offices of the seven targeted House Members Thursday.

Carl Forti, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, was dismissive of MoveOn’s ad campaign.

“Waste of money,” he said. “A: You’re 17 months away from the election. And B: I don’t know any Member of Congress who ever lost an election because of something someone else did. So good luck to them.”

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