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Congressional campaign ad uses WINK report without context

Casey Askar, a candidate for Florida’s 19th Congressional District seat, uses a clip from a WINK News report without context in a new advertisement.

The ad attacks opponent Dr. William Figlestahler by stringing together a series of news reports related to the candidate.

It starts with “Staffer arrested” and shows a photograph of Matt Hurley, a friend of Figlestahler, whose official connection to the campaign is unclear.

Figlestahler’s campaign said in a statement that Hurley has no official connection to the campaign, but the FEC complaint alleges that he is effectively running the campaign.

Hurley was arrested for contempt of court related to a civil lawsuit. A judge ordered him to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars to investors from a development project.

A WINK News report from July detailed an FEC complaint that alleged the Figlestahler campaign laundered money through other companies in order to pay Hurley so that Hurley could dodge his creditors.

The Askar ad uses just a section of that reporting and WINK News Investigative Reporter Lauren Sweeney’s voice stating: “secretly laundered campaign funds.”

The audio clip appears over different video than how it originally aired. The campaign also did not ask permission from WINK-TV to utilize the report or add source information in the ad.

The ad fails to mention that the “money laundering” allegation was a claim made by an Askar supporter which had nothing to do with the arrest of Hurley.

The spokesperson for the Askar campaign told WINK News by phone that the purpose of the ad was to lay out a series of facts about their opponent that had been reported by local media.

WINK-TV has no control over the content or validity of political advertisements.

WINK News journalists make no endorsements for any political candidates.

Askar campaign statement

Kristin Davison​, the general consultant with the Askar campaign, shared a statement with WINK News in response to the campaign ad.

“Nothing was taken out of context,” Askar said. “The ad exposes the real William Figlesthaler and the shady campaign he’s running — one that is run by crooked individuals and riddled with illegal behavior. The ad highlights WINK’s reporting of Matt Hurley’s arrest because Matt Hurley is running Dr. Fig’s campaign. It highlights the FEC complaint against the campaign because it raises serious concerns about the campaign’s ethics and integrity. Fig’s devious campaign tactics prove he is another corrupt politician just like the career politicians in this race. If you want to do a story on an ad that doesn’t just take things out of context, but blatantly lies, we can send you the millions of dollars’ worth of ads that the Never Trump Super PAC supporting Byron Donalds has been running against Casey.”

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney
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