American Future Fund attack on Udall doesn’t add up

The Des Moines-based conservative non-profit American Future Fund is once again being called to task for an ad that seems to be playing fast and loose with the truth.

The new ad, the latest in a series of attack ads against Mark Udall, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Colorado, says Udall has been bad for education and needs to support Senate Bill 12.

However, according to National Public Radio and the Center for Investigative Reporting, the ad just doesn’t make sense.

First of all, the bill was introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in February and hasn’t gone anywhere since. Second, the bill’s only education provision is an “enhanced charitable deduction for corporate contributions of computer equipment for educational purposes.” Third and perhaps most important, Udall is a member of the House of Representatives, not the Senate. He wouldn’t be able to vote for S. 12 unless he gets elected, an ambition the American Future Fund hopes to thwart. Right?

Colorado Ethics Watch, a campaign watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service last month requesting an investigation of the American Future Fund, saying it had spent more of its total resources on actions that influence elections in Colorado than on social welfare activities, which would be a violation of the organization’s federal tax-exempt status.

An Iowa Independent investigation into American Future Fund in August found the group has considerable ties to prominent figures in state Republican politics, including two former executive directors of the Republican Party of Iowa and a prominent donor to state party candidates.

The group’s leadership also includes media consultants who played key roles in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads in 2004 and the Willie Horton ad in 1988, both of which helped defeat Democratic presidential candidates.

In addition to its efforts in Colorado, American Future Fund has been active in competitive Senate races around the country. It’s sister organizatin, Iowa Progress Project, has been produced several ads attacking Iowa Democrats.

Representatives of the American Future Fund did not respond to requests for comment.