FEC admonishes political campaign


Steven Porter, who ran for Congress in 2004, was attempting to unseat Phil English (R-PA) in Pennsylvania's 3rd District. And it turns out he cheated. His campaign was using radio, and one ad ran a total of 127 times. And although the candidate voiced a message at the end of the ad identifying himself and endorsing the message, it was missing one piece of information.

The campaign neglected to mention that the ad was paid for by a committee called Porter for Congress. You may be relieved to learn that this low electoral blow did not provide an edge for the Porter campaign, which lost to English by a convincing 60.1%-39.9% margin. It did bring him before the FEC however, where the powers that be decided a simple admonishment was punishment enough for the wayward candidate and his committee.

SmartMedia observation: The rules are the rules, but we believe the important part of such a disclaimer is that of the actual candidate. But the financial disclosure can be important, too. For example, if the ad had been paid for by the Student Body of Potomac View Elementary School, we'd want to know about it because our daughter was elected treasurer of that student body (with an eye on a higher office next school year) and to the best of our knowledge her primary duty was keeping an track of the student popcorn fund. Since in this case the ad's funding was routinely handled by the campaign's own committee, there is little need for concern as long as its own financial dealings have been accurately reported. We feel an admonishment was an appropriate FEC response, and we are pleased that once again no apparent attempt was made to hold the radio stations themselves liable for policing the airwaves when it comes to political advertising.