Another Alaska U.S. Senate Race, Another Attack on Free Speech

Photo Credit: aflcio

Photo Credit: aflcio

For the second U.S. Senate election in a row, the incumbent campaign is threatening Alaska television stations over political ads it doesn’t like.

In 2010 while fighting for her political life after losing the Republican primary to Joe Miller, Sen. Lisa Murkowski had her legal counsel send letters to Alaska television stations warning them that they were putting their Federal Communications Commission licenses at risk by running ads against her that were paid for by the Tea Party Express.

Murkowski’s counsel claimed the ads constituted “false advertising” and the stations could lose their FCC license by continuing to run them. Of course, Murkowski’s lawyers knew (or should know) full well that as a public figure, her chance of proving slander or libel were virtually nil and the stations were in no danger of losing their broadcast licenses.

But that didn’t stop them from trying to put the arm on Alaska media stations — “nice FCC license you have there, be a shame if something happened to it” — and thankfully no one pulled the ads based on the Murkowski campaign threats…

So here we are again almost three years to the day later, and Sen. Mark Begich had his lawyers at Perkins Coie in Washington, D.C., fire off a letter to Alaska TV stations Sept. 5 demanding they “immediately” stop running ads sponsored by the American Energy Alliance accusing Begich of wanting you to believe “a carbon tax is a good idea.”

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