Newt Gingrich threatening to sue stations that run PAC attack ad


With the battle for the Republican presidential nomination running hot and heavy in South Carolina and Florida, a political action committee backing Mitt Romney is going after Newt Gingrich. But the Gingrich campaign says an ad from Restore our Future is factually incorrect and will go after any stations that air it.

It comes down to $300,000 Gingrich paid in the aftermath of a House ethics investigation back in the 1990s. The ad calls the payment a fine; Gingrich says it merely reimbursed the Ethics Committee for investigation expenses.

According to NBC and The Hill, Gingrich legal representatives are calling the charge from RoF defamatory and that stations airing it are liable for civil penalties.

However, RoF says that charges are fully justified and vetted by its own legal staff, and thus far has heard of no media outlets that have refused it.

RBR-TVBR observation: Perhaps Restore our Future can be held responsible for the accuracy of its advertising; however, it is not the job of broadcasters to police political content. Indeed, they can get in trouble for uneven handling of requests to run political ads and many might tend to err on the side of running them.

We are not experts in this area of law (or any other area, as far as that goes), but we sincerely doubt that threats against the media hold any water in this case.

Good Ol Newt is grabbing at straws.