WASHINGTON -- National Republicans began airing an attack ad Thursday against Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) to highlight the unresolved ethics investigation of his request for a campaign donation from a constituent he helped with a fireworks permit in 2012.
The 30-second spot, which the National Republican Congressional Committee said will run for two weeks on local cable TV in a $15,000 ad buy, cites reports the FBI probed the charges and that an ethics panel found reason to believe Bishop broke the law.
"Corruption, federal investigations," the ad says. "Tim Bishop's everything that is wrong with Washington."
Bishop denies he did anything wrong or illegal.
"This is the same old failed NRCC playbook. Their lies and distortions haven't worked in the past and they will not work in 2014," Bishop campaign spokesman Keith Davies said.
The ad is a continuation of the line of attack Republicans launched against Bishop in the last election, raising questions about his character while tying him to President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
The attack comes amid an ad war between two Republicans who want to run against Bishop. Lee Zeldin, a state senator from Shirley, and George Demos, a Ronkonkoma lawyer, will face off in a June primary.
Marc Brumer, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said: "The right-wing establishment in Washington is desperate to distract voters from the bruising race to the far right that's playing out between their two reliable rubber stamps, George Demos and Lee Zeldin."
NRCC spokesman Ian Prior said the aim of the anti-Bishop ad is to start defining him early in the campaign.
"The First District of New York is one of our top targets," Prior said. "This is something we want to remind voters of early and often."
The Office of Congressional Ethics found that days after Bishop helped constituent Mel Semler with federal and local officials on a permit for fireworks for his son's bar mitzvah, Bishop asked Semler through an intermediary for a campaign donation.
The House Ethics Committee last July confirmed an August 2012 complaint about Bishop had been investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics. The committee yesterday declined to say when it will make a final ruling.