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Politics

Congressman Neal Says Political Ad On Campaign Donations Is 'Defamatory'

Local TV channels have received cease and desist letters by an attorney representing Congressman Richard Neal over the broadcasting of a political ad Neal's team says is "false" and “defamatory.”
Local TV channels have received cease and desist letters by an attorney representing Congressman Richard Neal over the broadcasting of a political ad Neal's team says is "false" and “defamatory.” Photo Credit: U.S. Government

Local TV channels have received cease and desist letters by an attorney representing Congressman Richard Neal over the broadcasting of a political ad Neal's team says is "false" and “defamatory.”

The ad takes aim at donations made to Neal’s campaign, noting that the longtime Congressman from Springfield has a war chest that contains money from many super PACs. 

The letter was written by Neal’s legal counsel Perkins Coie and sent to WWLP-22News, EGGB-TV, WGGB-TV, and WSHM-TV on Aug. 19. The ad does not appear to have been removed.

Neal is facing Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse in a primary election, Tuesday, Sept. 1, to see who will represent Democrats on the November ticket. They are vying to represent Massachusetts’ First District in the House.

Produced by Justice Democrats’ super PAC, the ad was slated to run throughout the Democratic National Convention. The ad was based on a February article in Sludge, which claimed Neal is the largest congressional recipient of money from corporate and business-affiliated PACs this cycle.

Neal’s legal team claims that the ad confuses the legal acceptance of donations from PACs and the illegal taking of money from a corporate source for an election.

Super PACs are the legal way for corporations to influence politics. Companies or labor unions can give money to a PAC that then donates funds or otherwise supports a political candidate or cause.

More than 60 percent of Neal's campaign funds for the 2020 election came from political action committees (PACs), according to OpenSecrets. 

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