By Matt Grubs, NMiF Producer
Progressive Kick, the Super PAC running a television ad critical of Michelle Lujan Grisham’s record as New Mexico Secretary of Health, said Wednesday its plans have “changed somewhat” with respect to the future of the advertisement.
Earlier in the day, executive director Joshua Grossman indicated the group planned to pull ads from its media buy in the Albuquerque market through Comcast Spotlight. Late Wednesday afternoon, Grossman said the independent expenditure committee plans to reshoot a portion of the ad and insert the new piece into the current ad buy. Grossman wrote in an email “the reshooting has nothing to do with the complaint from the Grisham campaign but is because of a separate issue entirely. We’re not pulling our punches. We’re not going back on anything we said in the initial ad.”
In a hand-delivered letter dated Tuesday, Lujan Grisham complained to the cable carrier, Comcast Spotlight, that the ad “constitutes a reckless disregard for the truth” and demanded the carrier pull the ad from its rotation or face a potential libel lawsuit. The campaign argued that Progressive Kick ignored information contained in the very sources it cited for its criticism. In doing so, the campaign said, the Super PAC created an ad that was both “patently false” and “purposefully misleading”.
Sporting a letter from its own attorney, Grossman’s group argued the Lujan Grisham campaign got it wrong when its complaint left out a key word in its characterization of the ad: “effective”. The ad states Lujan Grisham “did nothing effective until sued by the feds”.
Progressive Kick pointed out that in most of Lujan Grisham’s complaint, her attorney leaves out the word “effective” when criticizing the advertisement. In effect, Progressive Kick argues, that omission changes its responsibility in creating and airing the advertisement. The usage of the word “effective”, Progressive Kick believes, gives it legal cover.
Political speech is often given a wide berth by the courts and its constitutionality has been the subject of a triad of recent court decisions expanding the limits of political advertising and spending. The decisions gave rise to independent expenditure committees that may raise and spend money without limits; so-called “Super PACs”.
Despite a reluctance to go into specifics of which portions of the ad will be reshot and why, Grossman says his group is doubling down on its position by buying radio ads featuring an alleged former Department of Health employee who criticizes Lujan Grisham’s handling of the Fort Bayard medical center. The ads should begin their radio run this week.