Before her appearance in the ad, Sandy Fonzo was featured on the Today show as part of MSNBC’s coverage of the Cash for Kids scandal. The scandal revolved around a Pennsylvania real estate developer, Robert Mericle, who bribed two judges to sentence juveniles to his for-profit detention facilities.
Fonzo’s son, Edward Kenzakoski, committed suicide after being released from a Mericle detention center; Fonzo says her son “lost hope” during his time in the facility. Upon ending his term as Texas solicitor general in 2008, Ted Cruz joined the law firm Morgan Lewis, for which he argued Mericle’s case before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in January of this year. Cruz is campaigning against Texas Lt. Gov David Dewhurst for the Republican nomination in the race for the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.