CHARLESTON, W.Va.-- For the first time this election cycle, two West Virginia television stations pulled a negative campaign ad Tuesday because of insufficient proof of the claims it made.
By Wednesday afternoon, the ad was back on the air with a slight revision.
Bluefield television stations WVVA and WOAY pulled an ad from America Works USA, which is funded by the Democratic Governors Association, after receiving advice from legal counsel for the West Virginia Broadcasters Association.
At issue was a claim the ad made about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney's stance on tax incentives for companies that create jobs.
"We already knew Maloney wants to end the tax incentives that can create new jobs — even though he used government incentives to make himself a millionaire," the narrator of the ad says.
The original ad cited an April Associated Press article in which Maloney criticized the state for giving tax credits to large corporations but not to small businesses, saying it amounted to "government picking and choosing winners and losers."
However, that article also quoted Maloney as saying he would rather eliminate personal property and business inventory taxes as a way to attract manufacturing businesses and jobs to the state.
The ad also cited remarks Maloney made in a debate about receiving what used to be known as a TEDDI loan to start his business. That was a state program that offered low-interest loans for business startups.
WVVA station manager Frank Brady Jr., who is also the president of the state Broadcasters Association, said his station received a complaint from a Washington, D.C. attorney challenging the validity of the claims.
Brady said he turned that complaint over to the Broadcasters Association's legal counsel. Attorneys found the article cited in the ad failed to support the narrator's claim.
"You just can't say somebody did it without documentation of where it came from," said Michelle Crist, executive director for the association. "It'd be awful easy to have a lot of allegations if that were so."