The Spectacle Blog

CA-36: Democrats Threaten Legal Action Against Controversial Ad

By on 6.22.11 | 12:40AM

The rap-themed online ad about Democratic congressional candidate Janice Hahn's support for a controversial "gang intervention" program has drawn a legal threat from Democrats.

In a letter to the conservative Turn Right USA political action committee (TRUSA PAC), a lawyer for the Los Angeles County Democratic Party demanded that the PAC "immediately cease the dissemination" of the ad, which has already gotten more than a half-million views on YouTube.

The letter from attorney Laurence S. Zakson calls the ad "untruthful" and said that it "contains repulsive and demeaning images which can fairly be characterized as intended to promote hateful stereotypes and incite the exploitation of women." In its reponse to the cease-and-desist letter, TRUSA PAC called the video a "fun and light-hearted parody of negative attack ads." Politico campaign columnist David Catanese wrote that Hahn appears to being trying to milk the controversy for her own political advantage.

As a member of the Los Angeles City Council, Hahn was a leading advocate of a program that used taxpayer dollars to hire convicted criminals to work as "gang intervention specialists."  Hahn even proposed a tax increase to expand the program. Hahn is now a candidate in the July 12 special election to fill California's 36th District congressional seat, vacated by the retirement of longtime Democrat Rep. Jane Harman.

The TRUSA PAC ad, directed by Ladd Ehlinger Jr., elicited widespread condemnation when it debuted last week, and was denounced by both the California GOP and by Craig Huey, Hahn's Republican opponent in the election. (See "Attack Ad Goes Gangsta in California," June 16.) However, if the PAC ad was intended to make Hahn's gang-intervention program an issue in the CA-36 campaign, it appears to have succeeded.

Tuesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee debuted a new "Hahn Got Me Out" Web site telling 36th District voters: "Janice Hahn helped steer taxpayer money to support violent, inner-city criminals who mocked police officers and were involved in breaking the law - including assault, rape, drug possession, and home invasions."

On Twitter, the TRUSA PAC ad's director claimed victory. "My ad is working. ... Welcome to [the] bandwagon, boys," Ehlinger wrote, adding later: "I woke up the sleeping elephant."

Send to Kindle

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article

More Articles From Robert Stacy McCain