Energy group hits back at DNC over $3.6 million ad buy attacking Obama

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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The American Energy Alliance (AEA) is hitting back at the Democratic National Committee over attacks on an ad AEA began running in swing states attacking President Barack Obama’s energy policies.

The $3.6 million ad buy is for a spot called “Nine Dollar Gas,” hitting on a particularly timely issue as the price of gas continues to climb. The ad is running in eight states, including swing states like Nevada and Iowa.

The AEA and the DNC commenced something of a pissing contest yesterday, with the DNC holding conference calls with the media to push back on the ad. At least one such call was held in Nevada, with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Communications Director Brad Woodhouse.

The invitation for the call said that the ad contained “mischaracterizations” of the presidents’ policies, and attacked AEA as an organization.

“The AEA is funded by big oil and lacks a drop of credibility in attacking the president’s clean energy agenda. Their goal is to protect tax breaks for big oil companies at all costs and they have opposed increased fuel-efficiency standards and tax credits for other energy services,” the invitation said.

Politico reported that the DNC also went after the organization’s connections to the Koch brothers, quoting Woodhouse as accusing them of “funding yet another shadowy outside group to defend the interests of Big Oil and protect their own tax breaks and profits with Mitt Romney being the ultimate beneficiary.”

Benjamin Cole, a spokesman for the AEA, did not deny AEA’s ties to the Koch brothers, but said that they had nothing to do with this particular ad.

“Any assertion that this ad is tied to Koch funding is false,” he told The Daily Caller in a phone interview. “They did not pay for this ad. They were not part of the development of this ad.”

Financial disclosures show that the Koch Foundation gave money to the Institute for Energy Research, for which AEA serves as the political arm. Cole also noted that the AEA president Tom Pyle used to be a lobbyist for the Kochs.

“We are not running from any affiliation, any association that we have had [with the Koch brothers], and our president, Tom Pile, is not running from his record. It’s regrettable that President Obama seems so willing to run from his record. And that’s why we ran the ad.”

Another round of sparring is expected, but on a smaller scale, with online ads.

The DNC did not respond to request for further comment.


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