JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An ad attacking Jacksonville mayoral hopeful Anna Brosche claiming she “potentially” broke the law is misleading.
The ad by the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign zeroes in on a Sunshine Law investigation into Brosche and other city council members, which found no sunshine laws were violated.
The ad features a clip from First Coast News' February 13 11 p.m. newscast featuring anchor Anthony Austin.
The ad fails to mention First Coast News reported over 24 hours earlier the investigation found no laws had been violated.
First Coast News can verify the group used the clip without Austin’s or the station’s permission.
Austin found out he appears in the ad while on social media during his vacation. He took to social media to address concerned viewers.
“As a journalist, my job is to remain neutral,” Austin posted on Twitter. “I can assure you I have nothing to do with it.”
Under the practice of fair use, a copyright infringement shield, producers of political ads are allowed to use news clips, but it’s important to note the appearance, voice or likeness of a journalist or news outlet in a political ad is not the same thing as a political endorsement.
The ad also claims Brosche hired a criminal defense attorney, in response to the investigation.
“Of course she hired an attorney,” said Ryan Wiggins, Brosche’s political advisor, who says that’s normal of anyone under investigation. “The entire investigation was a political stunt.”
"Brosche made hundreds of potentially illegal phone calls,” the ad says.
Describing the calls as potentially illegal is misleading because the ad started airing a month after investigators found no laws had been broken.