Monday, November 4, 2006
Bond Opponents Say They Will File FEC Complaint Over Ads
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Opponents of the infrastructure bond proposals on tomorrow’s ballot said Friday they will file a complaint, perhaps as soon as today, with the Federal Elections Commission over television ads featuring U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein,
The California Republican Assembly and California Taxpayer Protection Committee claim the ads supporting Propositions 1A through 1E, which include segments of video of Feinstein and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, violate federal election laws. The groups are asking that all costs associated with production of the ad be immediately disclosed, and that television stations immediately pull the ad.
“The latest campaign ad by the Yes on 1A-1E committee clearly violates the provisions of the McCain-Feingold election law reforms,” Mike Spence, president of the CRA, said in a release. “The ads use Senator Dianne Feinstein, a current candidate in a federal election, to promote their position. This unquestionably breaks the law.”
McCain-Feingold, officially known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, was enacted four years ago for the expressed purpose of curtailing the use of unregulated “soft money”—funds not raised or spent by candidate-controlled committees—in federal elections.
Among other things, it bans supposedly non-partisan “issue ads” funded by soft money from corporations and labor unions—those referring to candidates for federal election without expressly advocating their election or defeat—in the 60 days prior to a general election, or 30 days prior to a primary election.
A spokesperson for Feinstein, who voted for McCain-Feingold, said the senator supports the propositions, but has not made any television ads supporting them.
A spokespersons for “Let’s Rebuild California,” a group which prominently supports the propositions, said the group “had absolutely nothing to do with” the ads. They also said that all of their television ads are posted on their web site, and none involve Feinstein.
Feinstein’s Republican opponent, former state Sen. Dick Mountjoy, said in a release that the ads were sponsored by a group called Bi-Partisans to
Rebuild California and called on Feinstein—who is expected to win re-election handily—to “disclose the role her campaign played in producing the ads.”
“Was there collusion between Dianne Feinstein’s campaign and the Bi-Partisans to Rebuild California committee to violate federal election laws?...Dianne Feinstein must have known that a campaign ad was being produced. She had a camera right in front of her filming as she spoke.”
In the ad, Feinstein appears speaking at an event that was obviously organized by the Rebuild California campaign. Campaign signs adorns the podium at which she is standing.
“The federal election laws are very clear,” Mountjoy added. “For Dianne Feinstein to appear in this ad, the campaign must file federal disclosure forms and must not pay for the ad with corporate contributions.”
“I call on Dianne Feinstein to immediately disclose her relationship with the ‘Bi-Partisans to Rebuild California’ committee and to come clean about the role her campaign played in these ads.”
Spence, acknowledging to the MetNews that the complaint, which he said could be filed Monday, will be too late to force the removal of the ads before Tuesday’s election, said he hopes that once the error has been brought to the attention of the ads sponsors, they will voluntarily pull them.
“There are numerous potential violations that we are asking the FEC to fully investigate,” Spence said in the release. “Specifically, we’re concerned that corporations who will benefit from these bond issues have illegally paid for this ad.”
Tom Hudson, executive director of the TPC, said in a release:
“Feinstein’s appearance in the ‘Rebuild California’ ads requires federal disclosure, and must not be paid for with corporate dollars.”
“We are asking the FEC for a full investigation into the potentially numerous violations of election law. In the meantime, we are calling on the campaign to pull its illegal ad from the air.”
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company