Senator Russ Feingold, a leading voice for tight regulations on campaigns and elections, has been contacted by the National Football League today for using NFL footage without permission for a new campaign ad.
In the ad, Feingold claims that Republican Ron Johnson and others are figuratively dancing in the end zone, celebrating his expected defeat on November 2. A scoreboard shows time remaining and Feingold says he’s not done yet. As he speaks, the screen shows footage from several post-touchdown celebrations, most of them featuring generic teams wearing generic uniforms.
But one scene features NFL receiver Randy Moss when he used to play for the Minnesota Vikings, the despised rival of the Green Bay Packers. Moss pretends to “moon” the crowd and the footage includes NFL announcer Joe Buck pronouncing the act “disgusting.”
The NFL is very protective of its footage. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the NFL did not give Feingold permission to use the video. "We did not license the footage and have contacted the Senator's campaign about removing it," Aiello says.
Feingold, a co-author of the McCain-Feingold law on campaign finance, has long portrayed himself as a stickler on campaign regulations.
Johnson's campaign has provided THE WEEKLY STANDARD this statement, from Juston Johnson, Ron Johnson's campaign manager: "Sen. Feingold's mask is off. He created the image of an independent clean campaigner but the reality is he's raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from radical liberal groups like MoveOn.org and is using NFL licensed footage without permission in his latest attack ad. Wisconsinites are tired of out of touch career politicians like Russ Feingold and are ready to send Ron Johnson to Washington to focus on jobs and the economy."
TWS has contacted the Feingold campaign for comment and will post any response when we get one.