Topeka A Kansas Democratic Party official is accusing Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of breaking a federal campaign finance law with his latest television ad.
Mike Gaughan, the Democrats' executive director, filed a complaint Monday with the Federal Election Commission, contending disclaimers in the ad don't comply with a 2002 requirement known as the "Stand by Your Ad" provision.
The senator's campaign began broadcasting the spot Thursday in Topeka and Wichita. It praises Roberts but also attacks former Rep. Jim Slattery, who's viewed by Democrats as their leading candidate, over Slattery's work for 14 years as a Washington lobbyist.
Roberts spokeswoman Molly Haase called the FEC complaint "a typical lobbyist move."
"When you're losing, sue somebody," Haase said. "This pathetic attempt proves one thing: They are desperate to keep people from knowing the truth about the millions of dollars in favors Washington lobbyist Jim Slattery has done for special interests."
When a complaint is filed with the FEC, its staff gives the subject a chance to respond, then reviews the material and makes a recommendation on whether the commission should investigate.
At issue is a 2002 law requiring both an audio and written disclaimer in ads, in which candidates say they've approved the message.
Gaughan cited a regulation that requires a written disclaimer at the end and noted that the Roberts ad doesn't have such a "paid for" tag at its conclusion. Also, he said, a video image of Roberts at the beginning of the ad is obscured by a crowd.
Democratic Party officials said the ad shows Roberts is trying to duck responsibility for the attack on Slattery.
"We want him to follow the rules for these campaigns," said party spokeswoman Jenny Davidson. "It's designed to make sure people know where these kinds of ads are coming from."
Democrats contend the ad - and other, similar statements from Roberts' campaign - show the Republican incumbent is worried about his re-election. Democrats expect Slattery to easily defeat Lee Jones, an Overland Park railroad engineer and former union leader, in the Aug. 5 primary.
"It would appear that Roberts is trying to distract voters from his abysmal record on issues related to the economy, energy policy, the war and health care by attacking Jim," said Slattery spokeswoman Abbie Hodgson.
Slattery represented the 2nd District of eastern Kansas in 1983-94, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1994, then became a lobbyist. Last week, Slattery disclosed earning $585,000 working for a major Washington law and lobbying firm in 2007.