March 31, 2005

Who's going negative in Moline?

A piece in yesterday's Dispatch/Argus delved into the mud-slinging in the Moline Mayoral race. (see post below)

Unsurprisingly, both sides say the other is the guilty party. And a new twist is added:
According to a fax received late Wednesday at the newsroom of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, a complaint about the Committee for Better City Government fliers was filed with the state Board of Elections Wednesday by Richard Brunk of Moline.

According to the fax, the complaint centered on whether the Welvaert campaign failed to report the fliers as in-kind contributions. Further details and reaction to the filing were not immediately available.
More details, in's and out's here.

Other posts on this story here and here.


At 3/31/2005 1:12 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Head Usher has left an interesting post on this subject under the post above.

At 3/31/2005 1:45 PM, Blogger Fly-on-the-wall said...

Like a bug drawn to a light, the aspect of disclosing in-kind contributions drew my attention.

I'm fairly familiar with the Iowa campaign disclosure rules; totally ignorant of Illinois'.

In Iowa, it would be entirely possible for an "astroturf group" to form, raise funds, distribute campaign lit or purchase media and have none of it reportable on the candidate's disclosures as an in-kind contribution. The key factor is "coordination".

If the candidate had no control over the groups' activities, no say in the content, did not participate in the targetting, really had no role at all in what the group did, then the candidate has no obligation to report a dime of this activity.

Interestingly, you'd think that the "astroturf group" would have to disclose it spent $X to help Candidate Smith. Hell no. Not in Iowa. They need only disclose that they paid Station ABCD $X for ads. There's no need to specify which candidate was thus "gifted".

Not, of course, that it matters much. Most local media buys occur during a period that (at earliest) must be disclosed by 5 days before the election. Since the disclosure form may merely be postmarked by that date (and going to Des Moines), you can be assured that it will not be recieved, scanned, and publically available until Election Day or later.

Like I said, I'm ignorant of Illinois requirements, but I suspect it's no better on your side of the river. I seem to recall that Chicago is in Illinois.

At 3/31/2005 2:15 PM, Blogger Fly-on-the-wall said...

Oh, I forgot to add something with respect to the whole concept of "coordination" between a candidate and a PAC.

I don't know how it is in Illinois, but in Iowa we never ever have any coordination like that. Honest injun. (wink wink)

At 3/31/2005 5:20 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks Fly.
I imagine the regs are similar in Illinois, though I'm not certain.
Hopefully, some alert Dopester will be able to provide an answer.


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