Advertiser leaves Ted Cruz's podcast after learning money goes toward super PAC

BP America, which is based in Cruz's hometown of Houston, said it was never informed its ad buys would benefit a super PAC working for Cruz's reelection.

click to enlarge U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks at the 2021 Young Latino Leadership Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. - Gage Skidmore
Gage Skidmore
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks at the 2021 Young Latino Leadership Summit in Phoenix, Arizona.
At least one sponsor on U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's podcast The Verdict has gotten cold feet after recent revelations that ad dollars spent on the program flow to a super PAC working for the Texas Republican's reelection.

BP America told the Dallas Morning News it was unaware ad revenues from the podcast benefit the Truth and Courage PAC, a political organization that list its primary goal is ensuring Cruz is reelected to the U.S. Senate. The energy company said it's since stopped buying ad spots on the show.

The Cruz camp has repeatedly said the senator receives no compensation for hosting the podcast, which is distributed by San Antonio-based iHeartMedia. However, campaign finance reports show the media conglomerate has donated $630,000 to Truth and Courage since it began distributing the three-times-a-week show in 2022.

“We were never informed that media spend was going directly to a Super PAC,” a spokesperson for BP America, which is based in Cruz's hometown of Houston, told the Morning News. “We have instructed iHeart to remove our messages from any podcasts that direct advertising revenue to campaigns, PACs, or political parties.”

While some of the advertisers on Cruz's podcast are brands that echo his "anti-woke" messaging — Patriot Mobile, for example —  the Morning News report suggests other businesses that paid for spots may not like the attention it's getting. Other advertisers on The Verdict include general consumer brands such as Safeway, Consumer Cellular and Uber Eat.

A recent exchange with a reporter from Houston TV station KTRK suggested Cruz isn't eager to discuss the iHeartMedia arrangement. The senator gave an earful to one of the ABC affiliate's reporters for daring to bring it up.

"You know, it really is sad what's happened to the media, which is the media exists right now, seemingly, to parrot left-wing Democrat attacks," Cruz railed during the onscreen interview. "The group that brought that complaint—"

As the reporter tried to ask Cruz another question, he cut her off.

"The group that brought that attack is a left-wing Democrat attack group, and by the way, do you know what you didn't mention in your question?" Cruz queried. "The fact that they filed complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee raising these same issues. Do you know what the Senate Ethics Committee did? They threw it out. They said it had no basis in law."

The 2022 complaint to which Cruz was referring centered on the podcast distribution deal itself, according to the senator's own campaign, KTRK reports. That probe didn't look into the monetary donations iHeartMedia made to the super PAC, according to the station.

Stay tuned.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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