Donors didn’t exactly throw money at the political action committee behind an offensive campaign video that featured “gangsters” tossing cash at a stripper portraying Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA), who won the special election for CA-36 earlier this month.
Turn Right USA’s recent report to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) shows the group took in just $285 in July, a reporting period that covered the two-week period after the group released the controversial Internet video aimed at drawing attention to Hahn’s supposed connections to “hardcore gangsters.”
The group owes $5,792.12 to the political consulting company CampaignLA for the “Internet Rap Video,” according to a report filed with the FEC. They owe the same organization $2,214.80 for “organizational startup costs.”
Hahn’s campaign previously figured out the connection between Turn Right USA and CampaignLA, a group which had also done some work for Hahn’s Republican opponent Craig Huey, based on their shared P.O. box address.
Hahn called for an FEC investigation into whether the Huey camp and CampaignLA worked together on the ads, a charge the Huey campaign strongly denied. The Huey campaign’s FEC report shows no further expenditures to CampaignLA after the “stripper” ad came out.
Ladd Ehlinger Jr., the director of the ad, told TPM on the day of the election that he had reset the race for the congressional seat and forced Democrats to spend money on keeping what was thought to be a safe Democratic seat.
Ehlinger told TPM that he and a few friends came up with the money to start the super PAC, but didn’t explain that a third-party group was paid to produce it.
While the YouTube video was almost universally condemned on both sides of the aisle, it did succeed in drawing attention to a mini-controversy involving a gang intervention program that Hahn supported. National Republican Congressional Committee Communications Director Paul Lindsay even issued a statement after Hahn’s victory which said the California Democrat had a “pattern of unethical behavior and close ties to LA’s most dangerous gang members.”