EXCLUSIVE: An outside group that backs conservative causes is targeting a potentially vulnerable House Democrat with a new ad that heavily criticizes a proposal to force banks to report account transactions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The commercial from the American Action Network (AAN), shared first with Fox News on Thursday, is now running in New Hampshire's First Congressional District, a longtime congressional battleground where two-term Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas likely faces a challenging reelection in next year’s midterms.
"Pelosi wants the government to spy on nearly every American bank account, looking for new money to spend. Your deposits, payments, bank balance. Under Pelosi’s plan, the government monitors them," the narrator in the spot claims. "Call Chris Pappas. Tell him to stop Pelosi’s spending spree."
AAN tells Fox News they’re spending $300,000 to run the ad starting Thursday on TV and digital. The commercial’s part a $4.5 million ad blitz across 16 Congressional districts that the group launched earlier this week. The new ad campaign takes aim at the massive social spending and human infrastructure package congressional Democrats – who hold razor thin majorities in both the House and Senate – are trying to pass along party lines using a parliamentary process known as reconciliation.
AAN highlights that it’s spent a total of $20 million so far this year to target the Democrat’s spending package, which the party is trying to pass along with an infrastructure bill that sailed through the Senate in August with bipartisan support.
The IRS provision is included in the spending package, and would help pay for the expansive social policy and climate change elements in the overall bill. It would mandate that banks hand over to the IRS data on accounts with total annual deposits or withdrawals worth more than $10,000. The reporting requirements would not cover payroll deposits for wage and salary earners or to beneficiaries of federal programs such as Social Security.
The original threshold was even lower – for accounts worth more than $600 – but the Democrats raised the reporting level significantly after an outcry from congressional Republicans and a steady lobbying campaign by the banking industry. Critics argue the move would be government overreach and an invasion of privacy.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, in supporting the plan, said it had been "seriously mischaracterized" by opponents and that it "involves no reporting of individual transactions." And congressional Democrats, in defending the proposal, emphasize that it cracks down on affluent tax cheats.
But internal polling by AAN conducted this autumn suggested that the IRS proposal was deeply unpopular in swing congressional districts.
AAN communications director Calvin Moore told Fox News that "if Pelosi’s plan was only about cracking down on tax-dodging billionaires, why would they go after Americans with as little as $600 or $10,000 to their names?"
AAN says that they’ll start running this ad in other congressional districts starting as early as next week.
Responding to the new ad, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Chris Taylor told Fox News that "Republicans' dark money allies are misleading the American people with deceptive ads designed to scare voters."
"While Republicans work tirelessly to protect the interests of billionaire tax cheats, House Democrats are taking on a system that has been rigged against working people for too long, ensuring the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share of taxes to support historic investments in American workers," Taylor argued. "Our bet is that voters will see through these deceptive ads."