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Iowa group jumps into A.G. race

  • Published Monday, Oct. 11, 2010, at 12:04 a.m.

TOPEKA — An Iowa-based organization has been sponsoring television ads critical of Democratic Kansas Attorney General Steve Six as he seeks to stay in office.

The 30-second spots on health reform are backed by American Future Fund, a conservative advocacy organization based in Des Moines.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the nonprofit group led by Republicans invested more than $7 million on behalf of GOP candidates in this midterm election cycle.

Published reports indicate American Future Fund was formed Aug. 7, 2007, and participated in the 2008 election cycle by investing in congressional races in several states. The president of the organization is Sandy Greiner, a farmer who served 16 years in the Iowa Legislature.

American Future Fund describes itself as a multistate advocacy group dedicated to promoting "conservative free-market principles to the citizens of America." In September, politicians considered to be liberal from a dozen states were targeted by $4 million in ads by American Future Fund.

"Americans are appalled by the reckless spending by (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and her liberal allies in Congress," said Nick Ryan, spokesman for the organization. "The debt is spiraling out of control, and unemployment levels are at all- time highs. Still, Pelosi and her friends do nothing to help Americans."

Six is running against Derek Schmidt, the GOP attorney general candidate. The third candidate for attorney general is Libertarian Dennis Hawver.

The commercial running in Kansas says Six is a collaborator with President Obama

and congressional Democrats responsible for passing legislation expanding health coverage. The ad praises Schmidt for placing interests of Kansans ahead of "partisan politics" on health care.

"Americans opposed the Obama health care takeover," the ad says. "Obama is forcing it on us anyway. Democrat Steve Six is helping him do it."

Jackie McClaskey, spokeswoman for Schmidt, said she wasn't aware of American Future Fund's interest in the Kansas attorney general campaign until the ad appeared last week on radio and television. She said the TV ad buy could exceed $300,000.

"Clearly, independent expenditures are playing a greater and greater role in everybody's race," McClaskey said. "It's one of those things we have no control over."

A report by the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C., indicated the organization could spend $25 million this year on political ads.

Six campaign spokesman Gavin Young said American Future Fund's decision to step into the Kansas race could have something to do with the attorney general's support for creation of a no-call list allowing people to block prerecorded automated telephone calls. The bill died in the Kansas Senate. American Future Fund has taken an aggressive stand against state restrictions on so-called robo-calls.

"It's an example of how these shadowy groups operate," Young said.

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