The commercial repeats the charges that the Colorado Springs Republican asked Congress for millions of dollars to fund projects that would benefit campaign donors and has failed to sponsor a bill that became law.
“Yet Lamborn and his wife trotted around the globe— Amsterdam, three trips to West Palm Beach, and a stay at the Ritz Carlton hotel… (I)t’s perks galore,” the female announcer says with sarcasm.
Lamborn’s campaign spokesperson defended the incumbent’s privately-financed trips as beneficial to the public. “Congressman Lamborn’s opponent is complaining about trips (in which) not a single penny of taxpayer money was spent. These privately-funded trips, sponsored by non-profit organizations, allowed him to gain important perspectives and to educate himself on important issues,” Catherine Mortensen said in a statement.
Blaha’s $50,000-ad buy represents the latest round of negative advertising in the Republican primary contest for the fifth congressional district, which is home to the U.S. Air Force Academy and Focus on the Family headquarters. The commercial first ran on Monday and is expected to run through this week at least on the local TV affiliates for Fox, ABC, and NBC as well as for KVOR radio, according to campaign spokesperson Ashlee Springer.
Blaha’s previous commercials hammered the three-term incumbent not only for failing to pass legislation and participating in the political practice known as earmarking, but also flashing his temper at a congressional witness and subtly threatening a constituent. Lamborn’s ads have attacked Blaha for failing to vote in previous elections and running businesses that filed late business reports and a bank that received a low rating from and was fined by federal regulators.
Privately-financed trips have come under stricter scrutiny as a result of congressional ethics reforms in 2007. Reformers say that the junkets buy access for interest groups, while defenders say the trips help members of Congress gain outside expertise.
Blaha and Lamborn’s campaigns swapped these familiar charges. “The fact that the Congressman jet sets around the world racking up meal tabs upwards of $1000 and stays at The Ritz Carlton with his wife in West Palm Beach multiple times is further proof that our Congressman is just another member of the permanent political class that accepts perks and gifts from interest groups,” Springer said.
Lamborn campaign spokesperson Mortensen pointed to the representative’s privately-financed trips in 2011 to Israel, Panama, and Budapest. “If the Congressman were not participating in events like these, he would no doubt be accused of not doing his job,” she said.
The Republican primary is June 26.