A lawyer for Schock’s campaign says the negative television ad should be pulled because it “contains false information”.
The ad has been running on Channel 20 WICS-TV in Springfield. Schock chief of staff Steven Shearer says the ad is from a previously unheard of out-of-state organization called “Jobs & Progress Fund” that does not disclose who is funding it.
WICS local sales manager Jennifer Valenti says the group purchased about $25,000 worth of time on WICS and its sister station in Champaign, WICD. She says the ads are scheduled to continue through January 25th.
The ad claims Schock “voted for the biggest tax increase in a half century”. The ads refer to Schock’s vote in favor of the “fiscal cliff” bill which extended the “Bush-era” tax cuts for most Americans, but it did not reduce the tax rate for individuals making at least $400,000 and couples making $450,000 or more.
Chicago lawyer John Fogarty Jr. sent a letter to WICS on behalf of the Schock campaign stating the ad is “demonstrably false.” In the letter to WICS, Fogarty said, “The passage of H.R. 8 on January 1st cut taxes significantly…Your station is hereby on notice that the Advertisement makes false statements intended to deliberately deceive Illinois voters and defame Congressman Schock’s reputation…Based on the foregoing, we respectfully demand that your station immediately cease the airing of this false and misleading Advertisement.”
Valenti says the station asked the advertiser for a script and substantiation of claims.
“We sent that on and our legal counsel came back and they asked for just a little bit more information," says Valenti. "We did request that from the agency, as well. They sent that right along. Again, that was sent to corporate and they came back and said the ad may remain on the air."
Schearer says the ad stems from the possibility of Schock running for governor in Illinois next year. Schearer says one candidate that may run against Schock is billionaire financer Bruce Rauner from Chicago. Rauner has denied placing the ads but in an email response to Crain's Chicago Business he alluded that "maybe a rogue staffer" did it.