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BREAKING: Multiple North Carolina TV Stations Across The State Won’t Air False GOP Attack Ad On Cal Cunningham

The News & Observer reported Friday afternoon that multiple North Carolina TV stations across the state pulled down a “blatantly false” attack ad paid for by Senator Thom Tillis’ allies at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). 

Devan Barber, Cal Cunningham’s campaign manager said: “Senator Tillis and his allies are lying about Cal, and the ad is so false that TV stations refuse to air it. They have nothing good to say about Senator Tillis’ record so they’ve resorted to these desperate attacks.” 

Earlier this week, Cal Cunningham’s campaign released the truth about their attacks, which independent fact checkers and even conservative media outlets confirm are misleading. 

Plagued by bad fundraising, low approval ratings, and a failed response to the coronavirus, Senator Tillis and his allies have resorted to a new low of campaigning, distracting from his toxic record at every chance possible. Instead of launching false attacks at his opponent, Senator Tillis should be focused on extending federal unemployment benefits for North Carolinians who remain out of work. 

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News & Observer: North Carolina TV stations pull a GOP attack ad off the air after campaign complaints

By Brian Murphy – July 31, 2020

  • Television stations in Raleigh and Charlotte have pulled a Republican attack ad against Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham off the air after complaints from the Cunningham campaign that the ad was not truthful.
  • The National Republican Senatorial Committee paid for the TV spot, which ties Cunningham to a Paycheck Protection Program loan obtained by his former employer, Waste Zero. It has been airing in the Raleigh and Charlotte television markets since July 28.
  • WRAL and WRAZ, both owned by Capitol Broadcasting Company in Raleigh, have taken the ad off the air. So, too, has WSOC in Charlotte, according to emails from the station. The Cunningham campaign called it “a blatantly false advertisement” in a July 30 letter to the stations.
  • A PolitiFact NC article posted on found a Tillis tweet about the issue to be Half True, which means it’s partially accurate but leaves out important details.
  • “Senator Tillis and his allies are lying about Cal, and the ad is so false that TV stations refuse to air it. They have nothing good to say about Senator Tillis’ record so they’ve resorted to these desperate attacks,” Cunningham campaign manager Devan Barber said in a statement to McClatchy.
  • In the NRSC ad, Cunningham is shown on screen saying “we’ve seen that money end up in some of the wrong hands.” Then a narrator says “but those wrong hands were Cal Cunningham’s. His company got caught taking up to $2 million from the same program he condemned.”
  • The Cunningham campaign objected to several parts of that statement, saying in its letter that “WasteZero is not Cal Cunningham’s company, nor did he receive a penny in PPP funding.” The campaign further said that Cunningham is not a founder of WasteZero and he does not hold any kind of ownership interest in the company.
  • Cunningham served as the company’s vice president and general counsel until March 20, before the loan program was passed by Congress. He reported making more than $382,000 from WasteZero in 2019, according to required Senate financial disclosures.
  • WasteZero CEO David Bryla told PolitiFact NC that Cunningham “was not involved in the application for PPP funds and did not benefit from them.”
  • In an email to PolitiFact, Bryla wrote: “The decision to pursue a PPP loan in order to help keep our employees on payroll was made at the board level and spearheaded by me and our CFO. Cal left company payroll on March 20, before the PPP loan application process even began, has not been on payroll since, and therefore was not among those on staff who have benefited from the loan, which has helped us maintain workers.”
  • Cunningham has called for greater oversight of the program and for making sure more money gets into the hands of minority- and women-owned businesses. He has said on several occasions that he is a supporter of the program.