A newly minted dark-money group opposed to the nuclear treaty with Iran worked out by president Barack Obama has opened its campaign with a national barrage of television commercials, including a hefty buy in San Diego.
Anti-treaty with Iran ad
Calling itself "Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran," and said to be closely tied to the nation's pro-Israel lobby, the organization is reported to be running the spots in at least 18 states, according to SunLightFoundation.org.
The group was incorporated June 11 in Washington DC and has a five-member advisory board that includes four former Democratic senators — Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, Mark Begich, and Mary Landrieu — and ex-Democratic House member Shelley Berkley.
"We need to reject this deal and demand a better one — an agreement that dismantles Iran’s nuclear infrastructure," Lieberman says on the website.
The Washington-based contact of the nonprofit is listed on local television purchase disclosures as Patrick Dorton, a former special assistant to president Bill Clinton and ex-communications director for the White House National Economic Council, according to his online profile.
He has also done work for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, also known as AIPAC, which styles itself as "America's pro-Israel lobby."
Dorton is a partner at Rational 360, a "full service strategic communications" firm, according to the company’s website.
A Wall Street Journal account says AIPAC is helping to fund the current TV campaign.
So far, two San Diego television stations have sold time to the effort, according to filings with the Federal Communications Commission.
A July 16 contract with NBC-owned KNSD shows that the station charged a gross amount of $39,625 for 73 30-second spots.
KUSI-TV, owned by local media scion Michael McKinnon, sold 51 spots, for a gross of $18,700.
In response to the national commercial volley, reports the Wall Street Journal, J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group based in Washington, is launching its own TV spots in favor of the Iran deal.
“We strongly believe that Congress should not block this deal because to do so would be an error of historic proportions, paving the way once more for Iran to resume its nuclear program with no international restraints whatsoever,” said a J Street statement.