Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

AIPAC Spent $14.5 Million on TV Ads during Iran Deal Debate

AIPAC spent at least $14.5 million on TV ads from mid-July to mid-September in its failed attempt to convince members of Congress to derail the Iran nuclear deal.

Print Friendly

LobeLog

In the aftermath of Senate Republicans’ failed efforts to derail the plan agreed on in July to limit Iran’s nuclear program, responsibility has fallen on AIPAC for its inability to persuade a meaningful number of Senate Democrats to join their GOP colleagues in opposing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

To put it bluntly, AIPAC, a group with historically stronger ties to the Democratic Party, failed miserably.

Only four Senators—Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Joe Manchin (D-WV)—broke ranks with their colleagues and minority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) to oppose the nuclear deal. But AIPAC didn’t fail on the cheap. They raised and spent a staggering sum of money in an effort to tilt public opinion against the White House’s signature second-term foreign policy initiative.

This summer, AIPAC announced the formation of a new dark money group, “Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran,” dedicated exclusively to opposing the emerging nuclear deal with Iran. The Jewish Telegraph Agency’s Ron Kampeas reported that the group raised “nearly $30 million.” After a review of over 700 FCC disclosures, helpfully tagged by the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation’s “political ad sleuth,” we can confirm that the AIPAC spin-off spent at least $14.5 million on television commercials airing on broadcast television networks (ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS) from mid-July until mid-September. This period coincides with the intensive two-month lobbying period from the announcement of the JCPOA in Vienna to the failure of the Senate resolution of disapproval.

These numbers don’t take into account the cost of ad buys on cable networks and any lag in the Sunlight Foundation’s Political Ad Sleuth’s tagging of relevant FCC filings. But the broad outlines of AIPAC’s well-moneyed opposition to the Iran deal indicate that the pro-Israel group quickly raised a significant amount of money to blanket the airwaves with anti-deal television commercials, dwarfing any efforts by J Street or other pro-deal groups to air competing ads.

That $14.5 million in television ad buys focused heavily on the DC area. Over $3 million was spent on television commercials in Virginia, DC, and Maryland, presumably reaching many of Maryland Senator Ben Cardin’s constituents as well as Hill staffers residing in the broader Beltway region.

AIPAC’s group made the overwhelming majority of the broadcast television ad buys, with smaller anti-deal groups such as United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), Veterans Against the Deal, and the American Security Initiative making only token ad buys during the intense weeks of debate over the summer.

UANI spent approximately $190,000 on ad buys, all in Pennsylvania. Veterans Against the Deal bought approximately $47,000 in ad buys in Montana and Virginia. The American Security Initiative spent approximately $21,000 on ad buys in Oregon.

AIPAC won the money game, almost certainly raising and spending more money than any other group supporting or opposing the JCPOA. But after spending $14 million on broadcast television ad buys (and probably many million more for commercials on cable news networks), and only persuading four Democrats to break ranks with Senate colleagues, AIPAC leadership may face donors asking pointed questions about how their contributions were spent.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

John Yoo is a former deputy assistant attorney general known for his extreme views on executive wartime powers and for helping author the George W. Bush administration’s infamous “torture memos.”


Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), former chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, is a leading ”pro-Israel” hawk in Congress.


Brigette Gabriel, an anti-Islamic author and activist, is the founder of the right-wing group ACT! for America.


The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the more effective U.S. lobbying outfits, aims to ensure that the United States backs Israel regardless of the policies Israel pursues.


Frank Gaffney, director of the hardline neoconservative Center for Security Policy, is a longtime advocate of aggressive U.S. foreign policies, bloated military budgets, and confrontation with the Islamic world.


Shmuley Boteach is a “celebrity rabbi” known for his controversial “pro-Israel” advocacy.


United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

Contrary to some wishful thinking following the Trump administration’s decision to “put Iran on notice” and seemingly restore U.S.-Saudi ties, there are little signs of apprehension in Tehran.


Print Friendly

“The fundamental conflict at the heart of Israeli-Russian views on Syria is that Israel’s redline is the establishment of a permanent Iranian presence in Syria and Russia’s redline is the elimination of a permanent Iranian presence in Syria.”


Print Friendly

AIPAC has done more than just tolerate the U.S. tilt toward extreme and often xenophobic views. Newly released tax filings show that the country’s biggest pro-Israel group financially contributed to the Center for Security Policy, the think-tank that played a pivotal role in engineering the Trump administration’s efforts to impose a ban on Muslim immigration.


Print Friendly

It would have been hard for Trump to find someone with more extreme positions than David Friedman for U.S. ambassador to Israel.


Print Friendly

Just as the “bogeyman” of the Mexican rapist and drug dealer is used to justify the Wall and mass immigration detention, the specter of Muslim terrorists is being used to validate gutting the refugee program and limiting admission from North Africa, and Southwest and South Asia.


Print Friendly

Although the mainstream media narrative about Trump’s Russia ties has been fairly linear, in reality the situation appears to be anything but.


Print Friendly

Reagan’s military buildup had little justification, though the military was rebuilding after the Vietnam disaster. Today, there is almost no case at all for a defense budget increase as big as the $54 billion that the Trump administration wants.


RightWeb
share