Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has known for some time that he faces an extremely difficult election cycle in terms of hanging on to his job this year, and he’s built up a massive campaign warchest with which to mount a defense. His newly-minted opponent, Sharron Angle, made a dent in the disadvantage with the help of The Rush Limbaugh Show, even though it was missing its star.
According to Gray Television’s ABC KOLO-TV in Reno, Angle appeared on the show with Mark Belling pinch-hitting for the honeymooning Limbaugh.
Angle won a hotly-contested Republican Primary as the favorite of the Tea Party movement, and Reid’s campaign staff is already pouncing on some of her more far-right positions.
She proudly defended her positions on the program, and noted the “international” interest the Nevada general election match-up has generated. Then came the pitch – she said that all it would take is $100 apiece from 250K conservatives, and she will have equaled Reid’s $25M warchest.
Within an hour, $100K in fresh campaign contributions rolled in via her website.
RBR-TVBR observation: Ready to open up a new gray area in like-kind contribution regulation? Let’s go! There is no problem for a news-oriented program, like Limbaugh’s, having a newsmaker on for an interview without offering equal time to any other newsmaker. But when that newsmaker uses the airtime to solicit cash, it is possible that broadcasters could be liable for offering a financial benefit to the newsmaker that would have to be offered to the opposition.
If more politicians follow Angle down this path, you can bet your bottom dollar that somebody will bring the issue up with the FEC, the FCC, Congress, and the courts.