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Conservative Group to Air Anti-Earle Ads

The Free Enterprise Fund will launch a saturation television ad buy in Austin, Texas, Thursday that accuses Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle (D) of indicting Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) purely for blatant political purposes.

FEF, a conservative, Washington, D.C.-based think tank, declined to disclose the cost of the buy, but said it would run for seven days in Texas’ state capital, where Earle is based, before branching out to other media markets around the country.

“It will run so much, the only way Ronnie Earle will not see it is if he watches PBS, because they don’t let you run ads there,” said FEF Vice President and Political Director Peter Roff.

The 30-second ad features a barking, salivating Rottweiler, with a voice-over that recounts Earle’s alleged prosecutorial misdeeds. It ends by flashing the district attorney’s phone number while encouraging people to call Earle and tell him he’s wrong.

“A prosecutor with a political agenda can be vicious. When liberal Democrat Ronnie Earle went after Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, the judge threw out the case. But now Earle’s after another Republican, Tom DeLay,” the voice-over begins. “Earle’s even exploited the DeLay case to raise money for liberal politicians. That’s wrong. Bad, Ronnie, bad.”

Roff said the ad has more to do with protecting the ability of free market principles to flourish on Capitol Hill than it does with defending DeLay, who was forced to step down as Majority Leader in late September after Earle indicted him for conspiring to skirt Texas election laws.

“Tom DeLay is the leader of the free-market agenda in the House, and any move to sideline DeLay is about sidelining that agenda,” Roff said. “It’s winning with the jury box what they can’t win at the ballot box.”