The following article originally appeared on THE DAILY VOICE on Sept. 25, 2008.

Staff Reporter

A hard-hitting new TV ad campaign in Colorado and Nebraska accuses anti affirmative action crusader Ward Connerly of profiteering and hypocrisy. The ad says Connerly, who led the successful effort against race-conscious policies in California, received more than $7 million for his opposition to affirmative action and received a $1 million race-based contract much like the ones he said he opposes.

The ad was put out by the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, which is fighting efforts in several states that are seeking to ban affirmative action.

“Think your family wins when we outlaw equal opportunity?” the announcer asks at the beginning of the ad. “Scratch the surface and you might think differently.” The ad shows a scratch-off lottery game, in which the images underneath the scratch-off sections is a portrait of Connerly.

The ad describes Connerly, who is African American, as a “California political operative” and a “fraud” who used “nonprofit slush funds” to pay himself $7 million. The group also alleges that Connerly used his race to land no-bid contracts worth over million dollars from race-based government programs he says he opposes.”

As the final section is scratched off the card, we see a third image of Connerly, normally an indication of a jackpot. But the announcer intones: “With his plans to outlaw equal opportunity, Connerly wins. We lose.”

Ballot initiatives were proposed in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma that would give voters the chance to decide whether to eliminate affirmative action in government-funded programs and public schools.

Connerly. who heads the American Civil Rights Institute, has said the 37-word initiative would read: “The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.”

Supporters of affirmative action argue that the language is deceptively simple and the proposal would actually allow hurt women and people of color who were supposed to be helped by civil rights laws.

As a member of the University of California Board of Regents, Connerly led an effort in 1995 to convince a majority of the Regents to end the use of race as a means for admissions. He led the effort to pass Proposition 209 in California, which passed in 1996 and later led efforts to pass similar bans in Michigan and Washington.