BUFFALO, NY – A conservative group, called the American Action Network is sponsoring a series of television ads, airing on stations in Western New York including WGRZ, extolling the Republican sponsored tax reform bill, formally called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The two ads are identical, save for the end.
In one version, the couple appearing in them — identified on screen a Jim and Lindsay Pratt — ask you to thank Republican Congressman Tom Reed for his vote in favor of the tax reform plan.
The other version of the ad asks viewers to send their gratitude to Republican Congressman Chris Collins for supporting the plan.
In the ad, it is claimed that an “independent analysis” shows a typical family of four will save $1,200 per year if the tax plan is adopted.
Is does not identify the source of the so called independent analysis.
Nor does the ad define a typical family of four, if even there is such a thing.
For example, a family renting a home, may not be as affected as those who own one, by the potential loss of a portion of their deduction for property taxes ...something that governors in high tax states, like New York's Andrew Cuomo, have decried.
Are they a healthy family? Or does one member have significant medical expenses — a deduction for which they would lose under the house version of the bill, but would actually be expanded under the senate plan.
It also appears likely that Jim and Lindsay Pratt may not know much about Reps. Reed or Collins.
That’s because the Pratts live in Jefferson, Wisconsin where according to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jim owns a heating and cooling company.
The Pratts previously appeared in another ad placed by the American Action Network, even before the contents of the tax package were revealed.
In that ad, for which American Action Network’s bought $2.5 million of commercial time to air in 23 congressional districts nationwide, the couple extols the virtues of a simplified tax plan, which was supposedly the foundation upon which all the other details of the tax reform plan were built.
On its website, the American Action Network identifies itself as "a 501(c)(4) ‘action tank’ that will create, encourage and promote center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government, American exceptionalism, and strong national security."
It also states that American Action Network’s primary goal is to "put our center-right ideas into action by engaging the hearts and minds of the American people and spurring them into active participation in our democracy."
It is important to note that political ads are not bound by any truth in advertising laws, and that television stations cannot alter the contents of the ads.