Religion, Politics Mix In Two Ad Campaigns : Secret Money Project Update 09/17/08: Read Catholics United's latest tax return here.
NPR logo Religion, Politics Mix In Two Ad Campaigns

Religion, Politics Mix In Two Ad Campaigns

Update 09/17/08: Read Catholics United's latest tax return here.

Two political religious groups have launched dueling ad campaigns, one attacking Obama and the other McCain.

The Republican Jewish Coalition -- which recently sparked quite a brouhaha with anti-Obama polls -- is running ads in Jewish newspapers that say, "Concerned about Barack Obama? You should be." Oddly, a spokeswoman wouldn't say which newspapers. The most recent ad calls Obama's views on Israel "dangerous." The RJC has ties to many Republican leaders; at the 2004 convention it held a lavish reception honoring Tom DeLay (R-TX), then the House majority leader. One RJC board member is Washington lobbyist Wayne Berman, who's also a national finance committee co-chair for McCain.

Meanwhile, an advocacy group called Catholics United plans to run TV ads, starting Sept. 19, saying that McCain isn't truly pro-life. The ads, targeted to Catholic neighborhoods in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, faults McCain for voting against expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program and for supporting the Iraq war. It features a self-described pro-life mother saying, "Sen. McCain, when will you start defending all human life, without exception?"

More information on both groups, after the jump...

The Republican Jewish Coalition has casino magnate and conservative moneyman Sheldon Adelson on its board. Adelson bankrolls Freedom's Watch, which shares several board members with the RJC.

Besides Wayne Berman, the RJC is also tied to the McCain campaign through board members Elliott Broidy, Paul Singer and Lewis M. Eisenberg, who each raised over $500,000 for McCain. RJC board members Marvin Pomerantz, Sheldon Adelson, Fred Zeidman and Leonard Sands each bundled between $100,000 and $250,000. And board members Larry Mizel and Marc Lipschultz each delivered between $50,000 and $100,000 for McCain. All in all, the RJC board represents more than $2.5 million for McCain.

As for Catholics United, its executive director is Chris Korzen, a former organizer for the Service Employees International Union. The other board members are James Salt, who has done religious outreach for the Kansas Democratic Party and political scientist Joseph Wright. Jennifer Hojaiban, an editor of the Georgetown Law Journal, was on the board until recently.

Just for comparison's sake, the Catholics United board's contributions to Obama total $0.