Democrats are attempting to capitalize on the controversy surrounding a racy ad attacking Janice Hahn by asking supporters to fight back against the video's message by donating to Hahn's campaign.
Earlier this week, the conservative political action committee Turn Right USA released a video titled "Give us your cash, B--ch!", and corresponding website, hahnshomeboyz.org, depicting the Los Angeles City councilwoman and Democratic congressional candidate as a stripper and aligning her with gun-toting gang members.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called the ad a "vile right-wing attack" and hope it spurs its supporters to donate.
"An attack on women and minorities this blatant and offensive deserves our strongest grass-roots response," DCCC executive director Robby Mook said in a fundraising e-mail.
The group hopes to raise $150,000 by Monday, according to USA Today.
On her campaign website, Hahn tells supporters, "If you haven't watched it, don't," and asks they instead donate to her campaign: "If you think these extremist, sexist videos have no place in a race for Congress…"
Republican opponent Craig Huey distanced himself from the video.
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"Along with many other residents of the South Bay I am outraged over this racist and sexist ad," he said in a statement to Politico. "I unequivocally denounce it. It's unfortunate that the video will receive so much attention, when voters are hoping to discuss our economy."
The third-party creators of the video also stated that its video was "not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee."
Despite all the denials, Hahn's campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.
Hahn's filing alleges that Turn Right USA is working with the Huey campaign. It noted that both companies share an address in a retail center with an independent consulting firm called CampaignLA, which was listed in Huey's FEC filings. In addition, Hahn's campaign alleges that the domain name used by Turn Right USA (www.turnrightusa.org) was purchased for them by CampaignLA, and its website listed the e-mail address "firstname.lastname@example.org" as the registering agent for its domain name.
The complaint also notes that former Huey volunteer, G. Rick Marshall, is a main worker for Turn Right USA, a "Super PAC" that can raise unlimited funds from donors whose identities remain private.
In a statement addressing the allegations, Turn Right USA characterized the collusion complaint as "patently false." It also said that Marshall had volunteered for Huey's primary campaign but left "over strategic direction."
The controversial ad stemmed from a 2008 report alleging Hahn made direct payments to gang members who worked as intervention advocates, which she denied in the report.
In a news release, Turn Right USA said Marshall, with the help of the video's director Ladd Ehlinger Jr., produced the parody of the gang members in part because he "wasn't sure Huey would make it a campaign issue."
The National Women's Political Caucus of California condemned the video as sexist and blasted Huey for not asking the ad to be taken down.
"His anti-choice, anti-woman ideology is extremely relevant in this election," said Teray Stephens, President of National Women's Political Caucus of California, in a statement. "As we are in the midst of an ongoing Congressional battle to eviscerate women's health programs, including a willingness to close down the government simply to defund Planned Parenthood, we need to elect progressive leaders, not people that will add a voice to the extremist agenda."
The 36th District is heavily Democratic and encompasses several beach cities in Los Angeles. Huey was the surprise winner of the second spot in the runoff after he edged out better-known California Secretary of State Debra Bowen in the crowded field.