Independence, MO – Today, the Kunce Campaign has sent a Cease and Desist order to Trudy Busch Valentine for Senate, after she knowingly aired an attack ad that contains “false, misleading, and defamatory statements about Mr. Kunce.”
“Trudy Busch Valentine is spending her family fortune peddling lies about Lucas Kunce. She’s taking a page out of Trump’s playbook — use your inherited millions to spread lies and disinformation about your political opponent,” said Connor Lounsbury, Deputy Campaign Manager. “If Trudy Busch Valentine cared about these issues, she would’ve showed up to debate and asked Lucas herself, but she didn’t. She could have looked at Lucas’ website, but she didn’t. Her attempts to lie about and denigrate a man who served his country for 13 years as a U.S. Marine have revealed her true character – a wealthy elite hellbent on seizing power for herself. What’s also deeply disturbing about this ad is in her desperate attempt to slander Kunce, Trudy Busch Valentine also slandered Democrats like Barack Obama, Claire McCaskill, Stacey Abrams, and Kamala Harris, all of whom have evolved on issues like abortion, gay marriage, and legal weed. It’s an attack on any Democrat who’s ever evolved on an issue. Our campaign has issued this Cease and Desist Letter and expects Trudy Busch Valentine to take down this false attack.”
The letter in full read:
“This firm serves as legal counsel to Lucas Kunce and Lucas Kunce for Missouri, the authorized campaign committee for Mr. Kunce’s United States Senate bid, (‘the Kunce committee’)
“It has come to our attention that Trudy Busch Valentine for Senate, the authorized campaign committee for Trudy Bush Valentine’s United States Senate bid in Missouri (‘the Busch Valentine Committee’) has produced and paid for the broadcast airing of a television political advertisement entitled Despicable Attacks that contains knowingly false, misleading, and defamatory statements about Mr. Kunce (‘Despicable Attacks’)
“Specifically, at the 16 second mark (:16) of Despicable Attacks, both the voiceover and the on-screen visual falsely state the following: ‘Lucas Kunce – Against Gay Marriage – Against Planned Parenthood – More Jail Time for Marijuana.’
“The Busch Valentine Committee is well aware that each of these three statements is wholly untrue. And yet it has produced and disseminated an advertisement containing these deliberate lies with actual malice toward Mr. Kunce in an effort to deceive Missouri voters.
“Needless to say:
- Mr. Kunce supports marriage equality and the rights of the entire LGBTQ+ community. He is also a supporter of gender-affirming care for trans youth.
- Mr. Kunce is pro-choice, and he staunchly supports the fundamental right of every woman to access abortion services.
- Mr. Kunce supports legalization of marijuana nationwide, as well as expunging nonviolent marijuana convictions from individual records.
“We are writing to demand that the Busch Valentine Committee immediately cease and desist from producing and disseminating all further false, misleading, and defamatory communications about Mr. Kunce to any person or entity.
“Mr. Kunce is incensed by the Busch Valentine Committee decision to disseminate to the public what it knows full well are lies, and the Kunce Committee decision to disseminate to the public what it knows were full lies and the Kunce Committee will not hesitate to commence legal proceedings against the Busch Valentine Committee if your unconscionable behavior does not cease immediately.
“Please also be advised that all Busch Valentine Committee communications regarding Mr. Kunce including but not limited to emails tests, WhatsApp messages and other communications shall be discovered in any court proceedings and upon discover, will be strictly scrutinized. Accordingly, YOU ARE HEREBY ON NOTICE THAT ALL ELECTRONIC DATA ON ALL PERSONAL AND CAMPAIGN ELECTRONIC DEVICES MUST BE PRESERVED. The above is not all full recitation of all relevant matters, and nothing omitted or contained in this letter may be construed as, or deemed to be, and admission or a waiver by Mr. Kunce or the Kunce Committee. Mr. Kunce and the Kunce Committee reserve all rights, claims, defenses, remedies, and contentions that they may have.”
Since the posting of this story the Trudy Busch Valentine Campaign responded to the cease and desist order with the following statement:
“Dear Mr. Deutsch,
We write as counsel to Trudy Busch Valentine for Senate (the “Campaign”) and are in receipt of
your letter regarding the Campaign’s television advertisement entitled “Not Real.” While your
letter purports to take issue with statements made at the :16 second mark of the advertisement, it
appears your real objection is to the notion that Lucas Kunce should be held accountable for his
record and for the policies on which he ran in the past. Despite your unfounded claims to the
contrary, nothing in the Campaign’s advertisement is defamatory. In fact, each and every claim
in the advertisement is true, accurate, and carefully documented and it will continue to air.
“The advertisement begins by explicitly telling viewers it is describing Mr. Kunce’s record “when
he last ran for office.” Unfortunately for Mr. Kunce, his record in that race was quite clear:
- First, Mr. Kunce publicly opposed gay marriage, telling voters in Missouri that, with
respect to the rights of same-sex couples, “marriage should not be encroached upon.”
- Next, Mr. Kunce not only opposed the use of taxpayer dollars to provide abortion
services, but he opposed using taxpayer funds to even subsidize organizations that
- Finally, Mr. Kunce did not support decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of
marijuana.5 In fact, Mr. Kunce confirmed he would “strengthen penalties and sentences
for drug-related crimes.”
“As a current candidate for public office, Mr. Kunce is a public figure. He has a guaranteed right
of reasonable access to explain his own views and positions, but he has no such right to silence
our client as it opposes those views and criticizes his record. The Campaign’s ability to speak
freely on such matters of public importance is at the heart of the First Amendment’s protections.
“Finally, you also state that the Kunce campaign will not hesitate to commence legal proceedings
regarding this advertisement. Ironically, your allegation that the advertisement is defamatory is,
itself, defamatory, as is any publication of that allegation. Accordingly, we hereby demand that
Lucas Kunce for Missouri maintain and retain all records, including but not limited to all internal
and external communications (including communications with third parties), email messages,
text messages, Slack and other workplace collaboration messages, messages sent via WhatsApp,
Signal, Telegram and other P2P messaging apps, memoranda, reports, and handwritten and
digital notes regarding Trudy Busch Valentine and/or the Campaign.”