Interest Group and Independent Expenditure Advertising

Americans for Job Security print ad on John Edwards - Raleigh News & Observer (May 13, 2003)
Americans for Job Security describes itself as "the only independent, bi-partisan, pro-business issue advocacy organization in America."  According to Mike Dubke, the group's president, AJS has about 500 members and has spent about $26 million since it was founded in 1998, including $8.5 million in 2002 and $7.5 million in 2000. 

AJS had cut a TV ad and planned to run it Raleigh and Charlotte but the May 2 ruling by the three-judge panel on the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 threw the legality of that into question.  An AJS press release notes that Ben Ginsberg, a partner at Patton Boggs, advised AJS on the ads.  Ginsberg stated, "This is a graphic example of how McCain-Feingold and the 3-judge panel decision on chill debate about the public actions of our elected public officials.  The standards imposed by the new law are so subjective in nature, that government officials at the FEC and judges in courts will now decide what is 'acceptable and proper' speech."

Asked why AJS targeted Edwards, Dubke stated in a May 19, 2003 phone interview:

"Edwards is the poster child for why we need tort reform in this country."

Response from Edwards campaign spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri (May 13, 2003 statement):

"It's not surprising that 'Americans for Job Security,' a front for the insurance industry with White House ties, has made Senator John Edwards the subject of the first attack ads in this campaign.  As co-author of the Patients' Bill of Rights, Senator Edwards has stood in the way of Republicans passing the insurance industry's wish list.

This same Republican-backed group spent a record-setting $1.8 million in the last Presidential election running attack ads against the Democratic nominee.  Voters in North Carolina, Iowa or New Hampshire aren't going to buy into the group's underhanded tactics and Senator Edwards will not be cowed by their attacks.  Frankly, we are flattered by their assessment that Senator Edwards is the Democrat to attack in Iowa and New Hampshire."

Produced by Edmonds Hackney and Associates              Americans for Job Security
Note: Dubke strongly disputed Palmieri's characterization of AJS as "a front for the insurance industry."