The Federal Election Commission declared that the radio show formerly hosted by Arizona Republican Senatorial primary contender J.D. Hayworth on KFYI-AM Phoenix did not constitute an in-kind contribution by the station’s owner Clear Channel.
Hayworth, a former US Congressman, had been working as a political Talker at KFYI, and was using that perch to attack his famous at that point opponent-to-be, John McCain (R-AZ) on a very regular basis. The charge of like-kind contribution that the FEC just swept aside came from former AZ AG Grant Woods, described by The Arizona Republic as a McCain ally.
The FEC held that Hayworth’s program was allowable political commentary. Hayworth eventually agreed at the request of CC counsel to exit, and announced his candidacy shortly thereafter.
RBR-TVBR observation: The whole issue of when somebody pulling an airshift becomes a candidate may or may not be a gray area – if anything, Clear Channel played it safe at KFYI, asking Hayworth to exit before he officially became a candidate. In Baltimore, Hearst/WBAL and Bob Etheridge are taking it much closer to the edge than they did in Phoenix, against protests from the Maryland Democratic Party but with the blessings of the Maryland AG.