Jon Bruning’s campaign said today that five Nebraska TV stations pulled a super PAC’s ad from the airwaves because it falsely attacked Bruning — however, by day’s end, at least four of the five stations had reinstated the ads after getting documentation from the PAC to support the ad’s content.
Chris Sehring, general manager of KMTV in Omaha, told Nebraska Watchdog the Bruning-bashing ad began airing on his station Friday and was put on hold for awhile Monday while he waited for documentation from Ending Spending, which is bankrolled by Ameritrade founder and former Omaha businessman Joe Ricketts.
Ulysses Carlini Jr. said the ad was briefly suspended by KHAS of Hastings and KIIT and KNOP of North Platte until documentation of the claims was obtained from Ending Spending.
“Sufficient documentation was provided to substantiate the claims and the ad was reinstated,” he said of the three stations.
Vincent Barresi, general manager of NTV in Kearney, said his station was evaluating the Bruning complaint about the ad, which it just received today.
Sehring said Bruning’s people raised three concerns about the ad that portrays Bruning being showered in money and urges people to vote for “anyone but Jon.” The ad claims that while attorney general, Bruning made millions and bought a $600,000 vacation home with the owner of a company (Nelnet) he officially oversees. The ad says while serving as Nebraska’s top lawyer, Bruning “somehow obtained significant ownership in state-regulated companies.”
Sehring said his station aired some of those spots over the weekend before deciding to ask the super PAC for documentation to support the TV ad’s allegations. The group did so and it was considered sufficient enough to reinstate the ads this afternoon.
“We’re not here to edit or censor but we’re trying to be fair to both sides,” Sehring said.
If a candidate had bought the ad, Sehring said, they would be allowed much more leeway than a super PAC. But TV stations can be liable for the content of non-candidate ads, he said. The Federal Election Commission doesn’t expect stations to be fact-checkers, he said, but to make sure the ads are reasonable.
Of the three concerns Bruning raised, the one Sehring could recall was the portion in the ad about Bruning buying a lake home with a Nelnet executive.
“They said he’s not the owner,” Sehring said, “he’s the president of the company.”
Reported by Deena Winter, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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