A Republican Latino group with ties to the Bush Administration is airing radio ads alleging that Obama puts African Americans before Latinos and Africa before Latin America.
The 527 group, Latinos For Reform, is new this month and now it’s running a Spanish-language ad in Pennsylvania and Colorado. The ad translates, in part, as:
Barack Obama a friend of the Latino community? The record demonstrates the opposite. Did you know that after the 2000 census that showed a tremendous growth of Latinos in Chicago, Obama told reporters in Chicago that while everyone agrees that the Hispanic population has grown, they cannot expand by taking power from the African-American community. You heard right…but there’s more. Did you know that Obama has never hired a Latino to a senior position in his office throughout his legislative career? Did you know that Obama has opposed trade with Mexico, Central America and Colombia, yet supports free trade with Africa?
The chairman of Latinos For Reform is Robert Deposada, who has served in the leadership of the Hispanic Business Roundtable and The Latino Coalition, and was formerly director of Hispanic affairs for the Republican National Committee. In 2001, President Bush appointed Deposada to a commission to advance the administration’s plan for privatizing Social Security.
The treasurer of Latinos For Reform is high-powered Republican lobbyist Juan Carlos Benitez, whose firm brags that he “has exceptionally close ties to the White House.” Benitez was a Pioneer — he raised more than $100,000 for the 2004 re-election campaign — and President Bush named him special counsel for immigration-related unfair employment practices. Benitez also raised between $50,000 and $100,000 this election cycle for McCain.
In a press release, Deposada voiced frustration that McCain hasn’t put enough effort into courting the Latino vote. “The lackluster and severely underfunded effort to promote Senator McCain among Latino voters needs an urgent bolt of new energy if the Arizona senator is to win the general election,” he said. Apparently Latinos For Reform hopes to be that bolt.
This originally appeared on The Secret Money Project Blog, a joint project of CIR and National Public Radio tracking the hidden cash in the 2008 election.