Politics

Sen. Tester campaign accuses CWA of lobbying against child pornography protections

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

An advocacy ad from the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC), which highlights the uncontrolled spending in Washington, has garnered cheers from conservatives, but is less popular with Democrats, specifically those in Montana Sen. Jon Tester’s re-election campaign.

The ad, which spoofs miracle drug commercials with a woman hawking a faux drug called “Spenditol” to counteract all the spending in Washington, has aired throughout the country. The version playing in Montana advises viewers to “call Sen. Tester and tell him to stop spending it all,” and lists his Billings, Mont., office phone number.

Facing his first re-election in 2012, the junior senator’s campaign sent out a fundraising letter Wednesday in response to the ad, accusing the conservative group of lobbying against child pornography protections.

“More than anything, I’m angry at their nerve. I did some digging around, and here’s an interesting fact: this same special interest group attacking Jon right now also lobbied Congress against child pornography protection. If you ask me, that’s something the women of Montana (and all of America, for that matter) should be concerned about,” the letter reads.

The letter then requested that people send donations of $5, $10, $20 or more to Tester’s campaign to fight the CWA’s charges of overspending.

CWALAC and its sister group, Concerned Women for America (CWA), are well known, however, as anti-pornography crusaders. Their “Core Issues” page lists ending pornography of all kinds as one of their primary goals.

Penny Nance, CEO of CWALAC and CWA was outraged by the charge and has called on Tester and his campaign to apologize.

“Senator Tester’s smear attack on Concerned Women for America is a complete disgrace,” said Nance. “The Tester campaign’s assertion that CWA lobbied Congress against child pornography protection is absolutely false. To the contrary, CWA strongly supports tough penalties for those who peddle in child pornography. And Senator Tester should have known better.”

Nance further pointed out that she was the victim of a sexual attack by an alleged pornography addict, and said she and her organization are exceptionally anti-pornography — of any kind.

“[I]t is publicly known that I was personally the victim in an attempted sexual attack by a suspected pornography addict while I was pregnant with my daughter,” she added. “I was rescued by a passing motorist, and have spent the last 15 years as a champion against child pornography and indecency — including more than 3 years of public service working on this issue at the FCC. Concerned Women for America demands an apology from Senator Tester for this false and unseemly attack.”

Aaron Murphy speaking on behalf of Montanans for Tester pointed out that the basis for the criticism stems from the group’s opposition to the Child Obscenity and Pornography Prevention Act of 2003. The group opposed it, however, because it was not harsh enough.

“We oppose because the bill permits the defendant to have the charge dismissed if he proves the material wasn’t made by using a real child — that it was made by a computer — the very thing the bill is supposedly prohibiting,” CWA’s website explained.

CWA has reached out to the Tester campaign directly and is waiting for a response.

Follow Caroline on Twitter