Eight Iowa television stations, including three in Sioux City, won't air ads created by the Humane Society Legislative Fund that target the animal welfare record of U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron.
On Monday, the Humane Society group launched the Stop the King of Cruelty website and ad campaign geared to stations in Sioux City, Des Moines and Mason City, Iowa.
The ad calls dogfighting "cruel, vicious and something our children should never be exposed to." It goes on to claim that "Steve King is the only Iowa member of Congress to oppose a ban on taking children to dogfights, exposing them to violence and criminal activity. Those aren’t Iowa values.”
Sioux City stations KTIV, KCAU and KMEG/KPTH made the rare decision to refuse the ads. By late afternoon Tuesday, all eight Iowa stations that had been targeted to run the ads had backed away from airing them.
Ray Cole, the president of Citadel Communications, which owns KCAU and WOI, could not be reached for comment Tuesday but in a Monday statement said the Humane Society ad will not run because it is "patently false."
"We have opted not to run the spot in both Des Moines (WOI) and Sioux City moreso, if not exclusively, based on the fact that we believe the message is patently false," Cole said in the statement.
King spokesman Jimmy Centers said the congressman has said numerous times he opposes all forms of animal fighting.
King is running for a sixth term in the U.S. House, and his Democratic opponent for the Iowa 4th congressional district position is Christie Vilsack.
Vilsack spokesman Sam Roecker said the Humane Society attempted to give the Vilsack campaign a $1,000 donation.
"We did not accept or cash the Humane Society's contribution to the campaign. It was sent back months ago. It was reported on the Humane Society (of the United States) filing with the Federal Election Commission, but not on ours for this reason," Roecker said.
In a statement, Humane Society Legislative Fund political director Dane Waters said King may "portray the ads as somehow false, (but) the facts are that he has led the fight in Congress to block legislation to crack down on the barbaric practices of dogfighting and cockfighting."
Waters said that during consideration of the 2012 Farm Bill, King led an unsuccessful effort in the House Agriculture Committee to defeat an amendment to strengthen the federal animal fighting law and make it a crime for an adult to attend or to bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight.
During the vote on an amendment to HR 6083 to close a loophole related to spectators at animal fighting ventures, King voted no, but the amendment passed, 26-19.
During his remarks to the committee on July 11, 2012, King began by saying, "I, too, oppose any kind of animal fighting." He followed that by explaining that he had a concern with adding more layers of federal law, since King said states individually do a good job of enforcing animal fighting laws.
"I think it is micromanagement on the part of the Congress," King said.
In a fundraising email sent to potential donors on Monday, King put the amount spent by outside political action groups that have targeted him at $4.2 million...
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