Energy Planning: Ohio’s Brown Targeted by Anonymous Donors

Photograph by Brad Wilson/Getty Images

Steam and smoke from a coal-fired power plant.

A nonprofit organization that supports free markets and curbing regulation is airing television ads in Ohio attacking Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown on energy policy.

American Commitment, which formed in April, is spending about $1.2 million on two ads that began airing June 29, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising.

Both ads attack Brown’s June 20 vote against overturning a regulation to cut mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants. Proponents of overturning the rule, who lost 46 to 53, said that it was too costly.

A spot that first aired in the Youngstown market says that Brown’s vote meant he would “raise our electricity costs.” A second spot that first aired in Columbus also criticizes Brown’s votes for the 2009 economic stimulus and the president’s 2010 health-care law.

“We just think it’s really important for people to understand what his record is and that he’s been voting in a way that’s economically destructive to his own state,” Phil Kerpen, the president of American Commitment, said in a telephone interview.

Brown’s campaign responded to the ads on his Web-site. He’s seeking a second term against Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel in a politically competitive state that President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are targeting.

Kerpen, a former vice president at Americans for Prosperity, said that American Commitment formed on April 12. Because it’s a 501c4, the group doesn’t have to reveal its donors, so it’s not known who’s helping to underwrite the ads.

“We protect the privacy of all of our contributors,” Kerpen said. “We take that very seriously.”

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