YouTube restored an attack ad against Katie Porter that’s running ad nauseam for users in California right now after it was pulled Sunday for violating the video-sharing site’s policies. The ad, purchased by a political action committee called Fairshake, is being bankrolled by several prominent names in the world of crypto. The weird part? It’s not clear why the ad was briefly banned.

“Who is Katie Porter? A fake and an accomplished actor,” the narrator of the ad claims.

“That’s from Porter’s Democratic colleague who served with her for years. Katie Porter lined her pockets from a company that paid billions in fines after complaints it tricked homeowners into unauthorized fees and illegal foreclosures,” the ad continues.

The YouTube ad started running on February 23 before being pulled either Sunday or early Monday for an unknown reason. YouTube didn’t respond to questions about why the ad may have been pulled.


Fairshake started running YouTube ads on Feb. 15 in an advertising blitz funded by big names in the world of cryptocurrency. Ripple Labs and Coinbase have each donated more than $20 million, according to the latest figures from OpenSecrets. Venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz of the firm a16z have donated $9.5 million a piece. The Winklevoss twins were the latest to push millions of dollars into Fairshake’s coffers.

Why is the world of crypto targeting Porter? That part isn’t entirely clear, believe it or not. Crypto hasn’t been a big issue in the California race.

Porter is running for the late Dianne Feinstein’s old seat in the U.S. Senate, facing off against fellow Democrats Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Barbara Lee, as well as Steve Garvey, a Republican and former major league baseball player. The two candidates that garner the most votes in the March 5 primary in California will move on to November’s general election, even if they’re from the same party.

And while Schiff is currently in the lead to take the top spot, Porter and Garvey have been neck-and-neck for that second place finish that would get them on the general election ballot. The latest polling shows Schiff at 24%, Porter at 19%, Garvey at 18%, and Lee at 10%, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

For its part, Porter’s campaign takes issue with the claims being made in the latest ad from Fairshake.

“We are not surprised the ad has been taken down. This dark money group funded by a handful of the richest people in America has been repeatedly caught lying about Katie Porter,” Nathan Click, a senior advisor to Porter’s campaign, told Gizmodo on Monday before the ad had been restored later that night.

“The Sacramento Bee rated Fairshake’s first attack ad against Katie false. The truth is clear – they are spending more than $10 million to keep Katie out of the Senate because they know she will stand up for Californians and take on powerful special interests like them in Washington,” Click continued.

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