I spoke with Pete Bisbee a month ago and noted my conversation here on Power Line. Bisbee is executive director of the Republican Attorneys General Association. His mission is to expand the ranks of Republican attorneys general. Although Minnesota has not elected a Republican attorney general since 1966, he told me they saw an opportunity in Jim Schultz’s race against incumbent Keith Ellison this year.
Following our conversation I sent Bisbee a copy of my 2018 Weekly Standard column “Can Keith Ellison turn lawman?” When I spoke with Bisbee last month he told me that RAGA had “just placed a $1M [advertising] reservation in October.” The video embedded in RAGA’s Fire AG Ellison site seems to draw on my own 2018 Standard column and it is now running in Minnesota.
I caught only a few seconds at the tail end of the 30-second ad last night and went looking for it online. That’s how I happened on to reporter/anchor Esme Murphy’s “fact-check” of the ad on the local CBS affiliate last night. Murphy is a ludicrously hardcore DFL partisan. I have embedded her “fact-check” segment at the bottom of this post. She promoted it via Twitter in advance of the broadcast.
In her segment Murphy found that a carjacking depicted in the ad occurred in Miami rather than Minneapolis. However, carjackings in Minneapolis look identical to the one depicted in the ad. No one was misled by that.
She declared herself unable to confirm unspecified facts in the ad. She quotes Ellison denying them or stating they are “out of context.” She turns to University of Minnesota Humphrey School Professor Lawrence Jacobs judging something in the ad to be “just wrong.” I reached out to Murphy last night via the tweets below.
About that ad against @AGEllison that starts "you are receiving a call from a Minnesota Correctional facility press one to accept" payed for by MN For Freedom – its not exactly what it seems, tonight @wcco 5pm
— esme murphy (@esmemurphy) October 17, 2022
Dear @esmemurphy, I sent my research on Keith Ellison to the Republican Attorneys General Association. What facts in their ad do you believe to be in doubt? I would like to lend you a hand in your efforts to check them out.
Very truly yours…https://t.co/ZsTeHip4Fm
— Scott Johnson (@scottwjohnson) October 17, 2022
PS @esmemurphy I have a clip file and other research supporting my work on Keith Ellison. Please let me know what facts in the RAGA ad you believe to be false or in doubt. If you would prefer to email, please write to me at [email protected]
— Scott Johnson (@scottwjohnson) October 18, 2022
I know Professor Jacobs. At his invitation I appeared on a panel he moderated at the Humphrey School a few years ago. I contacted him via email last night:
Dear Professor Jacobs: I sent the Republican AG Association some of my work on Ellison. I only caught a few seconds of [the RAGA ad], but I did see Esme Murphy’s segment on it. I believe that the ad is based in part on my work. Would you please advise what fact(s) asserted in the ad you believe to be in error? I would like to follow up if appropriate.
Thank you for your courtesies.
I haven’t heard back either from Esme Murphy or Professor Jacobs.
Theo Keith of the local FOX affiliate also fact-checked the RAGA ad last night. His segment is posted here. He seems to think that viewers might believe the “call from prison” to be authentic rather than a dramatization. He declares it “false.” I don’t think anyone would take the phone call as an authentic recording.
The ad relies in part on Ellison’s support for Sara Jane Olson/Kathleen Soliah and Assata Shakur in a National Lawyers Guild fundraiser for Olson/Soliah in October 2001. I posted the text of Ellison’s remarks in “Who is Keith Ellison? (8)” The speech is illustrative of Ellison’s support for cop killers and his hustling on behalf of the Nation of Islam, which was still part of his gig in 2001.
Keith disparages the criticism of Ellison as old news. Keith doesn’t dispute the underlying facts. Has FOX 9 ever reported them? Ellison’s support for cop killers is true, but Keith doesn’t say so. You’d think voters might find it relevant in the election for Minnesota attorney general. Keith continues with an assessment of the accusation that Ellison blames cops for “for the damage that rioters caused.” He finds that’s “not the whole story.” I infer that it’s part of the story even by the lights of Theo Keith.
UPDATE: Late this morning Professor Jacobs responded:
Thank you for your note.
The crux of the story is on the funding source for the Ellison ad and the use of a shell for the GOP AG arm. Fair game. Whether a Democratic or GOP funder, voters should know who is behind campaign ads.
I appreciate the response. I take it that the ad didn’t get a damn thing wrong.