A self-described “national independent political organization” backed by labor and progressive money launched a Web site today aimed at exposing Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina’s “fibs, follies and dismal failures.”
The Lantern Project made a name for itself in 2005-06 by doing the same for incumbent U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. “By the fall of 2006, SantorumExposed.com was the most highly-trafficked political website in Pennsylvania,” the project’s news release claims. “Lantern also aired a series of TV and radio ads highlighting Santorum’s record.”
This year the project is maintaining its Pennsylvania effort by focusing on U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey, while also tackling the former Hewlett-Packard CEO vying for the GOP nomination in June to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., this November. Expect statewide television and radio ads here, too.
“The first aim of the Lantern Project’s work in California is to make sure as many voters as possible are exposed to the facts about Carly Fiorina,” said Julie Buckner, a political strategist working with the Lantern Project. “It is absolutely our goal to help Californians understand that Carly is nothing like the innovative, problem-solving high-tech whiz kid she portrays herself to be, and to blunt misleading information conveyed to voters by Carly’s slick and well-financed campaign committee.”
Buckner is working with Celia Fischer through their Los Angeles-based Laurel Canyon Media Group. A spokesperson told me this afternoon that the effort is being funded by “individuals who care about the 2010 US Senate race in CA.” No kiddin’.
FEC records don’t tell us a lot, with no contributions listed in the last few years, but a complaint filed against the Lantern Project in 2006 by campaign finance watchdog groups noted its funding at that time included “$250,000 from SEIU, a labor organization, $100,000 from Lewis Cullman, $100,000 from Bob Sillerman, $100,000 from Tim Gill, $100,000 from Peter Lewis, $50,000 from the law firm of Berger and Montague (as well as additional $25,000 contributions each from partners Daniel Berger and H. Laddie Montague Jr.), $35,000 from John Hunting, $25,000 from the Laborers Political League Education Fund, a labor organization, $50,000 (in two contributions) from Local 1776 United Food and Commercial Workers, a labor organization, and an additional $25,000 from United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.” The FEC found no violation and closed that complaint last year.
UPDATE @ 3:37 P.M.: This just in from Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund:
“On the occasion of Barbara Boxer formally getting into this race, it comes as no surprise that her public employee union allies would use a shady 527 organization to falsely attack Carly. Carly is clearly the candidate Boxer would least like to face in the general election because she knows Carly can beat her and will hold her accountable for her failed record. Carly is proud of her record of accomplishment at HP where she navigated the company through the worst technology recession in 25 years, outperforming the technology stock index by more than 20 percent, doubling revenue and putting the company on the path to becoming the first $100 billion information technology company in the world. Carly will put that record of success up against Boxer’s record of support for higher taxes, bigger government and deficit spending any day of the week.”