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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Scranton Times-Tribune "Casey" Ad Controversy Snowballing

On Aug. 8 an article " Why is Bob Casey Smiling?" was posted on this blog. A revised version "PA Politics: Why is Bob Casey Smiling?" was sent to American Chronicle in the Aug. 8 opinion section and grassrootspa.com who posted a link to it.

Since then Carrie Budoff of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an article on the Scranton Times-Tribune Casey ad controversy. She writes: "The newly merged Scranton Times-Tribune wanted to call attention to itself with advertisements that appear this summer on TV, billboards and buses. The ads featured a mock newspaper with a banner headline 'Casey to run for Senate.' " Budoff continues..."at issue now.....is whether the ads are a harmless promotion for a business or a possible campaign-finance violation." Ms. Budoff discovered that the Lynett family, publishers of the Scranton Times-Tribune have contributed more than $120,000 to the campaigns of Bob Casey Jr. and his brother Pat Casey.

The Scranton Times-Tribune printed a story on the ad controversy on Aug. 17, "Times-Tribune Ad Riles Santorum's Supporters". Lawrence K. Beaupre, the Scranton Times-Tribune's managing editor says he came up with the promotion and the publisher had "nothing to do with the portotype."

George Lynett who publishes the Scranton Times-Tribune along with his brothers, does not deny that he and his family have made substantial contributions to the Casey campaigns, but says he and his brothers William and Edward, do not dictate daily newspaper coverage, but leave that up to Beaupre and other editors.

Republicans believe the ad campaign amounts to in-kind advertising and are attempting to discover the dollar value of the ad campaign which included television spots. Republicans are considering officially asking the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether campaign finance laws have been violated. The controversy was also the subject of conversation on WILK's Sue Henry show on August 18.

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