Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Longshoreman, Torricelli financed anti-Dean ads

Unions, Torricelli financed anti-Dean ads

Feb. 11, 2004 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- Labor unions, former Democratic Sen. Bob Torricelli and one of presidential hopeful Howard Dean's own donors were among big givers to a group that ran ads criticizing Dean in three early voting states.

Americans for Jobs, Healthcare and Progressive Values raised $663,000 last year and spent $626,840 of it, a finance report provided to The Associated Press on Tuesday showed.

It ran at least three ads in December against then-Democratic front-runner Dean.

The group spent $15,000 on an ad aired in South Carolina and New Hampshire that showed a picture of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and said Dean, former Vermont governor, didn't have the experience needed to take on terrorism...

Federal Election Commission spokesman Bob Biersack said it was "fuzzy" whether Torricelli's contribution was permissible under FEC rules. Donations to such groups are not included on an FEC list of permitted uses for campaign funds.

Torricelli and his campaign treasurer, attorney Michael Perrucci, did not immediately respond to messages left at their offices Tuesday evening seeking comment.

Nearly all the group's donors were backers of Gephardt, who staked his candidacy on Iowa and was in a head-to-head battle with Dean there in December.

They include several labor unions: The International Longshoremen's Association, Laborers International Union and International Association of Machinists, which gave $50,000 each; the International Association of Ironworkers, $25,000; and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, $5,000.