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New, D.C.-based group buys ads blasting Knox

New negative TV ads about millionaire mayoral candidate Tom Knox will air here this weekend, purchased by a new Washington, D.C., political committee.

New negative TV ads about millionaire mayoral candidate Tom Knox will air here this weekend, purchased by a new Washington, D.C., political committee.

A group called "Working People For Truth" bought $70,000 of television time in Philadelphia to air two ads titled "Record" and "Service" on NBC 10 and CBS 3 today and tomorrow.

The committee registered Monday with the IRS as a 527 committee, named after the provision in the tax code for political organizations. It lists lawyer Donald Dinan - a longtime figure in the District of Columbia's Democratic Party organization - as the contact person.

Dinan referred calls to Bob Bedard, who serves as a spokesman for Local 234, a Philadelphia branch of the Transport Workers Union. Bedard said Dinan had no relationship with any of the mayoral candidates.

"He has authored a D.C.-based organization concerning the real truth in the mayoral campaign," said Bedard. A statement from the group says it will "comply with all applicable public laws."

Bedard said he didn't know how much money the committee had raised or who its contributors were. He said the group will run ads through the May 15 primary.

Both ads attack Knox's background.

"Record" blasts Knox for saying "he'll put more cops on the street. But he has no money to pay for them. Tom Knox. Fake, fake, fake."

"Service" attacks the payday loans given out by a bank headed by Knox. "C'mon, 400 percent interest? It's why none of us should have an interest in Tom Knox."

Knox campaign manager Josh Morrow criticized the new effort.

"Clearly the establishment or the machine is threatened by Tom's candidacy," Morrow said. "This garbage should be taken off the air. I guarantee there is a Brady tie to this."

Brady spokeswoman Kate Phillips said Brady didn't know Dinan.

Earlier this week a group of Knox opponents announced that they had formed another 527 committee called "Economic Justice Coalition for Truth," to raise money above the city's campaign-finance limits to fund attacks on Knox.

Because Knox's campaign is funded by his personal fortune, he has been able to outspend his opponents, who are restricted by new city contribution limits.

Independent political committees don't have to follow those restrictions. But the committees cannot be directly associated with any candidate.

Dinan has played several key roles in the District of Columbia's Democratic Party organization, including serving as general counsel in the 1990s and chairing its delegate-selection process for the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

He has not given money to U.S. Rep. Bob Brady or U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, although he has contributed to various House Democratic leaders and, occasionally, other Democrats, including Delaware County's freshman congressman, Joe Sestak.

Brady's own importance to the District of Columbia climbed sharply this week when he became acting chairman of the House Administration Committee - a post often described as "the mayor of Capitol Hill." Among other powers, it's responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal construction inside the District of Columbia. *