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Funding source for Jerry Brown attack ad is unidentified

Days after California's political watchdog agency said it would not crack down on issue advocacy ads until after the Nov. 2 election, a business group took aim at Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown with a blistering example of such ads.

The Small Business Action Committee, backing Republican Meg Whitman for governor, launched a new television ad attacking Brown's record on job creation and spending.

"Two million Californians out of work, and Attorney General Jerry Brown makes it harder to create jobs," says the narrator in the beginning of the 30-second television spot, which will air across the state.

The ad takes the same tenor as many of the Whitman campaign's attacks against Brown, casting the former governor's decades-long career in politics as a record of high spending and debt.

But because the advertisement does not explicitly mention Brown's gubernatorial candidacy, the group does not have to identify who donated to pay for the effort.

A similar "issue advocacy" campaign caused controversy in April, when the California Chamber of Commerce launched an ad targeting Brown. The chamber, which is also supporting Whitman, pulled the plug on the spot after campaign watchdogs and chamber board members demanded that leaders disclose the donors.

The SBAC ad launch comes after the Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday decided to delay until after the election a move to crack down on political ads that skirt disclosure requirements through carefully crafted issue advocacy campaigns.

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