A new attack ad popped up last week on several television networks, including MSNBC, criticizing Chuck Hagel's nomination to be Secretary of Defense. What made the spot interesting was not the attacks themselves, which were predictable, but rather the unnamed people behind the attacks: they claimed to be liberal allies of the Obama White House who support gay rights.
On the show on Friday, Rachel declared, "I call bullpucky." She did so alongside a trusted Bullpucky Alert siren.
The problem, of course, is that it's hard to know for sure who, exactly, is behind the ads. Sure, the folks behind the Use Your Mandate campaign claim to be lefty allies of President Obama, but they refuse to identify themselves. And under current campaign-finance law, there's nothing stopping anonymous donors from investing millions in a secretive smear campaign, making claims about their ideology that are nearly impossible to substantiate.
In this case, Rachel isn't buying Use Your Mandate's claims, and Jim Rutenberg, to his credit, uncovered some details that bolster Rachel's suspicions.
[F]ederal records show that Use Your Mandate uses Del Cielo Media, an arm of one of the most prominent Republican ad-buying firms in the country, Smart Media, with clients that have included the presidential campaigns of former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah and Senator John McCain of Arizona; the 2010 Senate campaign of Christine O'Donnell, who was known for positions against homosexuality, in Delaware; and, as it happens, the Emergency Committee for Israel.
Andrew Kaczynski added that Use Your Mandate has "close ties to the Republican Party." Kaczynski's report also noted, "FCC paperwork lists the president of Use Your Mandate as a woman named 'Virginie Stujenske.' On other forms she is listed as the group's treasurer. Stujenske is an employee for Tusk Strategies where her name is listed as Virginie Raphael."