The Democratic candidate for California attorney general asked television stations Monday to stop airing negative advertising by an influential national Republican organization funded by business interests.
The infusion of more than $1 million for the ad from the Republican State Leadership Committee chaired by former Bush White House counselor Ed Gillespie was the latest illustration of the national importance of the race for California's top law enforcement officer.
President Barack Obama last week attended a fundraising event for candidate Kamala Harris, who supported Obama's 2008 campaign.
The conservative group, funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, tobacco, insurance and medical companies, hopes to help elect Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to the state's top law enforcement job.
He is opposed by Harris, who is San Francisco's district attorney. Her campaign officials contend the Alexandria, Va.-based, Republican committee failed to properly disclose who is behind the ad running in the Los Angeles television market.
The California Fair Political Practices Commission is being asked to order the committee to detail in the ad who is paying for it. Cooley is being asked to denounce the ad.
The 30-second ad accuses Harris of being reluctant to seek the death penalty and features a video clip from the mother of slain San Francisco police Officer Isaac Espinoza.
Harris declined to seek the execution of Espinoza's killer in 2004, and he is now serving a life term. She has repeatedly said she, like current Attorney General Jerry Brown, would enforce the law on capital punishment if she is elected attorney general.
Cooley is not mentioned by name in the ad. Nor does the ad specifically mention the campaign or advise viewers how to vote.
Adam Temple, spokesman for the committee, said the ad was reported properly to California campaign officials because it deals with an issue and is not an independent expenditure for Cooley. Cooley spokesman Kevin Spillane did not immediately return messages.