Advertising by candidates of all political stripes is often marked by hyperbole and appeals to fear. However, attorney Michael Doyle asserted in a letter on Monday that Patrick’s campaign crossed a legal line.
“In the advertisement referenced below, there is no citation to public or private statements alleged to be made by Mike Collier at any time that would in any way be consistent with the factual claims,” Doyle wrote, calling the advertisement “fabricated out of whole cloth.”
“This glaring omission points to the factually insupportable basis for the advertised claims, and at a minimum we would ask that you request some manner of verification before continuing to accept the advertising revenues associated with the advertisement.”
The letter went on to reference guidelines enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which states on its website that mendacity in advertising is unlawful.
“Broadcasters are responsible for selecting the broadcast material that airs on their stations, including advertisements. The FCC expects broadcasters to be responsible to the community they serve and act with reasonable care to ensure that advertisements aired on their stations are not false or misleading,” the FCC states.
“The FTC has primary responsibility for determining whether specific advertising is false or misleading, and for taking action against the sponsors of such material.”
Patrick points to a quote from Collier comparing his positions to those of President Joe Biden. The lieutenant governor reportedly reacted to the cease and desist letter during a campaign event on Tuesday.
Republicans generally characterize Democrats’ emphasis on eliminating strict immigration policies — such as deportation guidelines and the Remain in Mexico policy — as part of an “open borders” agenda. Democrats often assert their support for enforcement, but place less weight on concerns about illegal immigration. There were 2.38 million enforcement encounters with illegal aliens along the southwest border during Fiscal Year 2022, according to statistics published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Patrick’s advertisement claims Collier would abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, prohibit charter schools, and adopt the environmental “Green New Deal” program, all of which Doyle disputed, citing articles published by various outlets.
Dallas-area ABC affiliate WFAA, which was one of the organizations that received the cease and desist document, published a report on Friday highlighting the fact that the Patrick advertisement contains the lieutenant governor’s image and the disclaimer that his campaign paid for the video. Consequently, it cannot be censored by broadcasters, per WFAA.
While Collier has touted the backing of a handful of outgoing Republican politicians such as Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, Patrick has also received a crossover endorsement from Sen. Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville).
Early voting began on Monday and ends on Friday, November 4. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.
A copy of the cease and desist letter can be found below.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."