This is Dan Burton’s campaign on drugs

Just after Dan Burton’s campaign decided to run an ad featuring Ohioan actors posing as real Hoosiers, his campaign got a little more help from out of state.

The Iowa-based American Future Fund – who has made a lot of noise over the past few months – popped in to drop this bizarre ad on the Hoosier state:

As primary challenger John McGoff’s campaign put it, “The AAF [sic] is known for their salacious and knee-breaking advertising campaigns.” That’s stating the case a bit mildly. According to the Iowa Independent, AFF’s legal counsel is Ben Ginsberg – the same Ben Ginsberg who was forced to resign from the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004 when it came out he was serving as the legal advisor to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. And AFF’s media strategist is Larry McCarthy, who produced the infamous “Willie Horton” ad in 1988.

You may remember that AFF targeted Rep. Baron Hill with a TV ad last fall, then targeted Hill along with fellow Congressman Brad Ellsworth in print ads over health insurance reform. While I couldn’t find a good fact check of the ad they ran against Hill, the nonpartisan wrote that AFF’s last ad against the Affordable Care Act “mixes bits of recycled images and false claims with new falsehoods”.

AFF apparently broke a lot of golden eggs to make and air this commercial. Burton primary challenger Luke Messer repeatedly complained the amount was “over $100,000”, and the Star reported that AFF spent more than $200,000 supporting Burton, including $171,500 on television. And as the Star reported, “It’s unclear why the group is getting involved in the primary.” AFF is no stranger to large expenditures – they dropped over $600,000 into Scott Brown’s Senate race in Massachusetts. (They are also uncovered as the organizers of a massive online attack on Martha Coakley in a new study by two Wellesley University professors.) As a 501c(4), AFF does not have to disclose their donors. But their 2008 form 990 (amended) showed they took in almost $7.5 million and spent more than $4.5 million on advertising, despite having no paid staff. (PDF link)

Despite this kind of advertising, Burton went on to defeat Messer and McGoff in the 5th District’s GOP primary. Meanwhile, actual Democrat Dr. Nasser Hanna lost to “Conservative American Democrat” Tim Crawford in the Democratic primary (a result puzzled over by both Michael Wallack and Chris Worden). And so my old neighborhood in the 5th District is lost for another term, unless a strong independent candidate emerges.

Now, if only I had the budget to remake that 80s “This is your brain on drugs” PSA with exploding watermelons.