Embattled Senate Candidate Alexi Giannoulias released his first TV ad of the general election campaign -- not surprisingly, it's about Broadway Bank.
When he began planning a run for senate two years ago, he probably didn't envision leading off his general election campaign this way. But when regulators shut down Broadway Bank on Friday after giving Giannoulias' family about 90 days to raise $85 million, his hand was forced.
Giannoulias has been dogged by questions about the bank, including revelations that it loaned $20 million to two convicted felons.
The ad, which dropped Monday, tries to contain the political fallout from the government take-over of his family's business and shift the focus to opponent Mark Kirk.
In the 60-second spot, Giannoulias talks directly to voters about the bank where he was a loan officer before being elected in 2006.
"When I left over four years ago, it was in good shape," he says in the ad.
The ad is similar to remarks Giannoulias made Sunday to the media.
"When I left Broadway Bank over four years ago, it was one of the highest performing banks in the state of Illinois. It had capital in excess of not only what its peer group had, but also in excess of what the FDIC required, and very few people could have foreseen what took place over the next few years," Giannoulias said. "And the fact that less than 9 percent of the non-performing assets were even around when I was there -- I think that says a lot about what I've done as state treasurer and it's what is on the forefront of voters' minds."
The campaign says the commercial will run in markets statewide.
Kirk makes no secret of how he is going to use the issue.
"Clearly, Alexi Giannoulias is desperately trying to change the subject from his reckless business practices that led to the failure of Broadway Bank and the $394 million in losses the bank cost the FDIC - the fourth most expensive Illinois bank failure in the past 10 years," Kirk spokeswoman Kristin Kukowski said Sunday.
"There are a lot of questions about Broadway Bank and how it got to this point that Alexi will have to answer as his campaign moves forward," Kukowski said.
Published at 6:02 PM CDT on Apr 26, 2010