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

Established in Baltimore in 1897, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is the oldest Zionist organization in the United States—and also among the most aggressively anti-Arab ones.


U.S. Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis is a retired U.S Marine Corps general and combat veteran who served as commander of U.S. Central Command during 2010-2013 before being removed by the Obama administration reportedly because of differences over Iran policy.


Mike Pompeo (R-KS) is a conservative Republican congressman who was voted into office as part of the “tea party” surge in 2011 and chosen by Donald Trump to be director of the CIA.


Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas and an evangelical pastor, is a 2016 Republican presidential candidate.


David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank whose influential analyses of nuclear proliferation issues in the Middle East have been the source of intense disagreement and debate.


The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”


Billionaire investor Paul Singer is the founder and CEO of the Elliott Management Corporation and an important funder of neoconservative causes.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

President Trump and his Iranophobe supporters are itching for a war with Iran, without any consideration of the disastrous consequences that will ensue.


Print Friendly

The war of words and nuclear threats between the United States and North Korea make a peaceful resolution to the escalating crisis more difficult than ever to achieve.


Print Friendly

The new White House chief of staff, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, is anything but non-partisan or apolitical. For the deeply conservative Kelly, the United States is endangered not only by foreign enemies but by domestic forces that either purposely, or unwittingly, support them.


Print Friendly

The prospects of Benjamin Netanyahu continuing as Israel’s prime minister are growing dim. But for those of us outside of Israel who support the rights of Palestinians as well as Israelis and wish for all of those in the troubled region to enjoy equal rights, the fall of Netanyahu comes too late to make much difference.


Print Friendly

Rich Higgins, the recently fired director for strategic planning at the National Security Council, once said in an interview on Sean Hannity’s radio program, that “more Muslim Americans have been killed fighting for ISIS than have been killed fighting for the United States since 9/11.”


Print Friendly

This is how the Trump administration could try to use the IAEA to spur Iran to back out of the JCPOA.


Print Friendly

President Trump seems determined to go forward with a very hostile program toward Iran, and, although a baseless US pullout from the JCPOA seems unlikely, even the so-called “adults” are pushing for a pretext for a pullout. Such an act does not seem likely to attract European support. Instead, it will leave the United States isolated, break the nuclear arrangement and provide a very reasonable basis for Iran to restart the pursuit of a nuclear deterrent in earnest.


RightWeb
share