WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre's latest political ad is drawing some vocal criticism from his opponent's supporters. In the ad, McIntyre claims Republican Ilario Pantano wants to raise taxes 23 percent. What the ad does not say is that the increase would be part of a Fair Tax plan that would abolish the IRS and eliminate all income taxes, payroll taxes and deductions.
Pantano supporters are fighting back with an viral email campaign, encouraging people to e-mail local TV stations and demand they pull the ad due to "factual inaccuracies." Here's an example of one email: "Hello everyone, This is a call for immediate action. Mike McIntyre has began airing ads claiming Ilario Pantano wants to raise our taxes by 23% without any further explanation of the Fair Tax. Obviously we know McIntyre is referring to the fair tax and spreading inaccurate and false statements regarding the Fair Tax. Pantano a supporter of the Fair Tax needs our help. Please call and write to WWAY TV3 and WECT asking them to pull the ad due to factual inaccuracies. Tweet about it, change your Facebook status, do everything you can to help derail this ad!!!! This is an important issue and we can't let Mike McIntyre distort the Fair Tax for his own political gain."
Of course negative campaigning is as old as our country itself. To date, there are no restrictions on what candidates can say in a negative ad. Many proposed regulations have been confronted by fundamental legal protections such as the right to free speech. Beyond that, Section 315 of the Communications Act of 1934, which still governs political advertising, prohibits broadcasters from censoring political ads in any way.