Bad Times for Freedom's Watch

The Freedom's Watch Louisiana ad

A recent New York Times story describes the Republican-linked pro-war group Freedom's Watch as "beset by internal problems" and unclear on "what kind of role, if any, it will actually play this fall" in the U.S. presidential elections. Freedom's Watch is currently running ads in Louisiana which claim that the Democratic candidate in a special Congressional election supports higher taxes. The ads prompted a formal complaint from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, accusing Freedom's Watch of illegally coordinating with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). The Democrats point out that the "metadata" of the ad script file identifies the NRCC as the originator, and that former NRCC employee Carl Forti -- who now works for Freedom's Watch -- was the last person to edit the script. They note that the Freedom's Watch ad and an NRCC ad for the same race use the same graphics and similar scripts, and the Freedom's Watch ad debuted the day after the NRCC stopped airing its ad. Patrick McCarthy, who wrote the ad for Freedom's Watch, said "an innocent mistake caused the document to appear as if it came from the NRCC," reported the Washington Post. McCarthy, a former NRCC employee, "said he pulled up an old ad template from his NRCC days and wrote the Louisiana ad script over it."