The California Chamber of Commerce has pulled an ad targeting Jerry Brown off the airwaves, following angry objections from Brown, his wife and Brown’s allies in the business community — including members of the Chamber’s own board. The president of the Chamber said he was surprised at the level of attention the ad generated.
The move comes after a letter from four Chamber board members to Chamber President and Chief Executive Allan Zaremberg criticizing the ads. “To any reasonably minded person this is nothing more than a typical political attack ad. It undermines the chamber’s credibility to justify it as anything other than that,” the letter states.
On Thursday, Zaremberg said his organization would remove the ad from the air waves.
“We’re ready to move on to the next phase of our paid media campaign,” he told Capitol Weekly. “We believe we’ve accomplished what we tried to accomplish with the first ad, which is bring attention to these important issues. We probably got a little more attention than we expected.”
When asked about Brown and Gust’s roles in getting the ads off the air, Brown spokesman Sterling Clifford said, “This campaign has worked very hard to mare sure the chamber’s misleading ads be taken off the air.”
“This ad was misleading, the funding is a mystery and it should never have been aired,” he said. “We’re pleased the ad is down, and we hope the Chamber will return to a more constructive role in public affairs.”
Zaremberg said he had no communcation with Brown directly, but “I am aware that he called members of our board. (Brown and his campaign) were engaged with some of our members.”
Other sources agreed, saying that Brown, the state attorney general and a candidate for governor, was instrumental in exerting pressure on Zaremberg to pull the ads. Both Brown and his wife, Anne Gust, who once served as chief operating officer of The Gap, made calls to Chamber members Wednesday imploring them to put pressure on the Chamber to take the ad off the air.
The calls were angry and impassioned, according to sources familiar with the conversations.
The Chamber has maintained the ad is not an attack on Brown. Rather, they call them “issue ads” aimed at educating voters on key issues.