Florida: Democrats Pan Feeney Mea Culpa TV Spot

Posted September 23, 2008 at 6:31pm

Sunshine State Democrats blasted Rep. Tom Feeney (R) on Tuesday for his new mea culpa, a television ad that began airing Monday night in which the lawmaker apologizes for a much-publicized 2003 trip to Scotland he took with incarcerated lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

“What Tom Feeney should truly be embarrassed about is his continued failure to come clean about his connections to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his pay-to-play antics,” Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff said in a statement. “Tom Feeney owes his voters real answers about what he did for the corrupt lobbyist in exchange for his luxury trip and how much his golf junket really costs. But instead of the facts, Feeney just offers more excuses and lies.”

In Feeney’s 30-second spot, he says he made a “rookie mistake” by boarding a private jet with Abramoff free of charge.

“Five years ago, when I was first elected to Congress, I was invited on a trip to Scotland. I found out later that it was paid for by a corrupt lobbyist,” Feeney says in the ad. “I embarrassed myself, embarrassed you and for that I am very sorry.”

Feeney closes the ad: “I’m Tom Feeney, and I approved this message because public service is about being honest, even when you make a mistake.”

Feeney’s new ad comes with six weeks to go until Central Florida voters decide between the incumbent and former state Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recruit.

Kosmas’ campaign on Tuesday responded to Feeney’s new buy, airing a television ad on Tuesday titled “15 Questions for Feeney,” including, “Why is Feeney apologizing after claiming he did nothing wrong in the first place?”