Talking Points Memo: Ad Uses Luntz Framing To Bamboozle Voters On Financial Reform

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is ripping a stunningly deceitful new ad by a shadowy conservative group that uses Frank Luntz’s up-is-down messaging advice to confuse voters about the financial-reform legislation currently in Congress.

Tester told the Billings Gazette that the ad — which is being run by the “Committee for Truth in Politics” (CTP) and labels the reform effort a “$4 trillion bank bailout” — is “not true.”

“We’re not dealing with any $4 trillion bank bailout. To confuse people and put forward an ad with a lot of false information, and not tell people who you are?,” Tester said. “I cannot believe the system works this way.”

In addition to Montana, the ad is running in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Colorado, among other states.

CTP’s attorney, James Bopp Jr., was behind the recent RNC “purity resolution,” which aimed to get all GOP candidates to abide by a pledge not to waver from conservative orthodoxy. Bopp, an RNC committee member, also represented Citizen’s United in its successful bid to challenge laws limiting corporate spending on politics. And he has sued the FEC, arguing that CTP shouldn’t be required to file any disclosure reports with the agency. has already demolished the ad’s central factual claim. The ad calls financial reform legislation a “new $4 trillion bailout for banks.” Bopp told that that description is based on a Bloomberg News opinion piece by the conservative columnist David Reilly, who wrote that the bill “authorizes Federal Reserve banks to provide as much as $4 trillion in emergency funding the next time Wall Street crashes. So much for ‘no-more-bailouts’ talk.” But as points out, “the ad obscures the fact that the Fed already had such authority to act in ‘unusual and exigent circumstances’ without any cap” — and it tapped that authority to bail out AIG and Bear Stearns in 2008.

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