FEC going to court against citizen campaigner


Stephen Adams has run afoul of the Federal Election Commission. In the two months prior to the 2004 presidential election, he apparently took it upon himself to acquire some 435 billboards to promote the election of George W. Bush, putting 1M into the effort which targeted voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and South Carolina.

However, Adams allegedly failed to include disclaimers that were up to specification, they "did not contain the required sponsor information or state that the billboards were not authorized by any candidate or party." Neither did he report the expenditure to the FEC – that report needed to be at the FEC within 48 hours of the first ad's appearance, and Adams allegedly missed that deadline by over six weeks.

SmartMedia observation: This is a word to the wise if you're thinking about mounting an independent and individualized advertising campaign on behalf of your favorite candidate without the candidate's knowledge. The good news, from our perspective, is that the FEC is going after Adams, not the companies which sold him the billboards (they are not even hinted at in the FEC release), which to us means that the FEC is continuing its admirable practice of keeping the media out of the business of enforcing electoral advertising law and regulation.