BINGHAMTON, NY – Assemblyman Cliff Crouch is taking legal action against one of the men who want to replace him for misappropriating his image.
Calling it deceitful and wrong, Crouch is filing suit against Republican candidate Nick Libous for using Crouch’s image in recent television ads.
The commercials have aired on WIVT, WBGH and other local TV stations.
The 25-year Assemblyman, who announced in January that he is retiring at the end of this year, argues that Libous is purposely misleading voters into thinking Crouch supports him.
Crouch endorsed his longtime volunteer staffer and former Norwich Police Chief Joe Angelino on the day he announced his retirement.
Crouch says Libous spent 2 years bad-mouthing him leading up to a failed primary and general election campaign back in 2018.
Then, starting in January, Crouch says Libous started using his image on Facebook and in mailers and now in the TV ads in an attempt to win over vCrouch supporters.
Crouch says Libous has ignored repeated requests to stop.
“Very frustrating in the fact that he continues to do it. It just smacks of arrogance and entitlement. I just have a real problem with somebody willfully using someone’s image when they know that I’m not supporting him in this campaign,” says Crouch.
State Senator Fred Akshar has also denounced Libous for using his image in mailers.
Libous responded with a statement that his campaign is winning and that the party bosses who don’t back him are desperate and scared.
Besides Libous and Angelino, Jim Powers and Vic Furman are also seeking the Republican nomination for Crouch’s seat.
You can read the full news releases from Crouch and Libous below:
From Cliff Crouch:
(Bainbridge, NY) Today Republican Assemblyman Cliff Crouch publicly denounced politician Nick Libous for unethical campaign advertising and indicated that he is taking legal action after Libous ignored repeated requests to cease and desist using his name or image over the past several months.
Libous is currently running misleading television and radio advertisements on several Southern Tier media stations including, but not limited to, WBNG, WIVT, WBGH, WICZ, Spectrum Cable (Fox News Channel, CNN, History Channel), WNBF, WBKT and WKXZ. According to FCC records, these unethical advertisements were created and placed for Libous by Binghamton area advertising agency Ad Elements. He has also sent glossy mailings to thousands of area voters and published paid “sponsored” ads on Facebook.
These television, radio, direct mail and online advertisements prominently feature Crouch’s name and face, and clearly intend to mislead voters into believing that Crouch is supporting Libous’s political campaign for State Assembly.
“Let me be crystal clear: I do not support Nick Libous for State Assembly. His deceitful campaign is everything that’s wrong with politics. He and anyone associated with these misleading ads should be ashamed of themselves and need a lesson on basic ethics,” said Crouch.
“Joe Angelino has my support because he’s honest and ethical. He served our community as a police officer and police chief, and served our nation as a U.S. Marine. After being wounded in battle on two separate occasions, he earned the Purple Heart Medal, among many other accolades. That’s the kind of person who is fit to serve in the Assembly.”
According to FCC records, Libous has spent more than $17,000 so far this year on television and radio ads. It is estimated that he has spent more than that amount on postal mailings. He has spent thousands more on Facebook advertising, according to Facebook’s public ad file.
“Nick Libous has spent tens of thousands of dollars repeatedly misleading voters. It’s cheating and it’s wrong,” said Crouch. “I’ve made public statements in hopes of voters hearing the truth, but I’m genuinely concerned that the startling amount of money that Libous is spending spreading these untruths means that many voters will hear his lies without hearing the truth from me.”
“I implore all media stations to report on this matter and to pull these false ads,” added Crouch. “Bad politicians shouldn’t be able to buy elections because they have piles of money to spend with media stations on ads that mislead the public.”
Crouch noted that, going back as far as January, he politely and privately requested to Libous that he remove Crouch’s name and image from all campaign materials. Crouch initially made the request in response to a Libous campaign Facebook ad that falsely implied Crouch’s support for Libous. Libous not only refused to respect his request, but deleted Crouch’s public comment on the Facebook page, depriving the public of the truth. Libous continues to run this misleading image as a paid ad on Facebook to this day, and later expanded his unethical use of Crouch’s face and name in the aforementioned television, radio and mail advertisements.
“How would you feel if your grandfather appeared in an ad in a way that made it seem like you support someone who you have absolutely no respect for? That’s exactly what happened to me, when one of my grandkids called me appalled at what she saw on TV. This bad behavior by Libous has to stop, which is why I have had to take the unfortunate step of taking legal action to stop Libous’ lies,” added Crouch.
Earlier this year, Crouch announced that he would be retiring from the State Assembly at the end of his current term (December 31, 2020). Crouch immediately endorsed former Norwich Police Chief and U.S Marine combat veteran Joe Angelino as the right Republican candidate to succeed him.
Crouch is widely respected by Republicans in the 122nd District, having handily defeated Libous in 2018 in landslides in the General Election (85% to 15%) and Republican Primary Election (72% to 28%). NYS Board of Elections records show that Libous spent nearly $55,000 in his unsuccessful 2018 campaign.
From Nick Libous:
I have big news – we are winning! We are in place to win this race for New York State Assembly, here in the 122nd District, and the political party bosses in Norwich know it! We are about a month away from the June 23 Republican Primary, and the Norwich Smear Machine is desperate. They recently put out a statement saying we cannot name or discuss the current officeholder, Clifford Crouch. That is outrageous! Wheter you liked Mr. Crouch or not – this race is about the future! We, Team Libous, are the future.
This election will be decided by you – the voters – not the backroom deals or Albany politicians.
Why are they so desperate and scared? They know the residents of the 122nd District are responding to our message. They know, following the shutdown of the economy, in response to the Coronavirus, this election is about jobs, jobs, jobs. They know, I, Nick Libous, am the candidate who has created jobs and run a successful business. They know, we are winning this election – which they tried to sell as a backroom deal.
We will keep doing what we are doing, contacting voters in the 122nd District, and spreading our positive job-creation message. It is a shame one of our opponent’s campaign has taken the low road; together – we are on the road to winning this election, and the road toward a better future.