Liberal PAC targets Hoyer in radio ads

House Democratic whip backed bankruptcy bill

April 17, 2005|By Gwyneth K. Shaw | Gwyneth K. Shaw,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON - A liberal advocacy group will run radio ads beginning early this week criticizing Rep. Steny H. Hoyer for his support of legislation making it more difficult to file for bankruptcy.

MoveOn PAC is planning ads against 11 House members, but all except Hoyer - the No. 2 Democrat - are Republicans.

"Steny Hoyer just voted for a bankruptcy law practically written by the credit card companies," the script for the ad says.

The bill passed the House on Thursday by a vote of 302-126; the Senate passed an identical bill last month, and President Bush has promised to sign it. Hoyer, who represents Southern Maryland, was one of 73 Democrats to support the bill, including Maryland Reps. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Albert R. Wynn.

Tom Matzzie, Washington director for MoveOn PAC, said the decision to run the ad targeting Hoyer was difficult, because the organization generally supports Hoyer and other Democrats.

"But this bill was something we couldn't stand the odor of," Matzzie said. "Cooperation and collaboration with the Republican agenda isn't acceptable."

Supporters of the legislation said it would encourage financial accountability. But opponents said the bill helps the financial-services industry - which has sought changes to the law for years - and makes it harder for families to climb out of debt.

A spokeswoman for Hoyer said he voted for the bill because of his concern over the growing number of bankruptcy filings and the belief that it should be used only as a last resort. She said Hoyer thought the bill advanced that goal, and also added new disclosure requirements for credit card companies and others.

Matzzie said the organization is spending between $80,000 and $100,000 on the ads, which will run mostly in Hoyer's district but also on Washington-area stations such as WTOP and WMAL. They could start as soon as tomorrow and will run for about a week.

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