Thursday, July 20, 2006

Election Law Follies, Part Three

I was contacted by John LaBeaume from the Libertarian Party's national headquarters in DC. He was asking me for a report on my campaign, so that he could include info on it for our supporters across the country. He said that he is impressed with what the Kole Campaign is up to, and that he would like our supporters to see some positive news on our candidates, and to show other candidates things that are working for other candidates.

Being a candidate who tries to implement what I've learned, I always give media people and important contacts the links for my website, my blog, and my online donations page. The media routinely reminds me that they won't publish the online donations link, and I expect that. This is what shocked me:

The national Libertarian Party advised me that it cannot post links to my fundraising page.

For crying out loud! I'm a Libertarian candidate, and the Libertarian Party cannot publish links to support me? In America? That's crazy! From John's email:
FYI: Thanks to the campaign finance law, we can not link to or even mention fundraising, esp. for a state – not federal – candidate.

Having said that, any thing we can do to drive traffic to, or interest in your campaign hopefully may bear fruit on the funding level down the line.

Well, the national Libertarian Party is a Federal PAC. As shown in previous posts, thanks to the campaign finance 'reform' laws, Federal level entities cannot talk to state level entities. So, we have to tip-toe through the tulips on fundraising. We can't say anything about money, but can hope people take an interest and find the fundraising page.

Does any supporter of the campaign finance laws feel safer knowing that when you visit the Libertarian Party's website, there will not be links to my website? Do you feel that representative government is strengthened by this?

What interests me greatly is to know whether or not the various state and county Republican and Democratic party organizations have created Federal PACs, because they all talk about and link to their Federal candidates. Because Libertarians play it straight and by the rules, we are punished.

If you go to the Indiana Dems' website, you will find that the only candidates they list on their candidates page are Federal candidates. Not a single statewide candidate or local candidate is listed.

If you go to the Indiana GOP's website, you will find that they list Federal candidates, and even include links to other Federal Republican organizations. The Rs do list their statewide candidates.

Do these state entities have a Federal PAC? That would be very interesting to know. They should. After all, members of their parties wrote the laws.


Mark W. Rutherford said...

The Supreme Court of the United States killed the First Amendment by a vote of 5-4 when it upheld the Incumbent Protection Act, more formally known as McCain-Feingold or BCRA (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act).

There is no longer free political speech. It is highly regulated now.

I know the effect it is having on me. I choose not to say certain things because of my fear of being bankrupted by fines by the FEC.

We are now just another statist European nation of the type that we fought so hard to break apart from in the late 1700's. It is very sad.

Michael said...

So, when do you start doing the right thing and just saying "to hell with you!" and ignoring it? Seems as if "civil disobedience", (what a wretched term) is the only course left, other than compliance.

Mike Kole said...

Michael- It depends how ready you are to pay the fines. The thing that makes civil disobedience work is a sympathetic outside audience that is willing to exert pressure on your behalf. If we start sticking our necks out, is that sympathetic audience there? I think not yet. So, we have to post these blog entries and make campaign issues out of these things so that people can begin to know that campaign finance reform is a sham, and the unintended consequences of it are damaging to a free society.

Jeff Pruitt said...


Per the FEC website

"An uncompensated individual or group of individuals may engage in Internet activities for the purpose of influencing a federal election without restriction. The activity would not result in a “contribution” or an “expenditure” under the Act, and would not trigger any registration or reporting requirements with the FEC. This exemption applies to individuals acting with or without the knowledge or consent of a campaign or a political party committee"

I'm not sure which section of the BCRA is interpreted to mean that federal campaign committees cannot link to local candidates' fundraising pages - I'm not suggesting it's not there, just curious as to what section it might be...

Michael said...

Why even consider paying the fines? That's what they wish you to do and refusal to pay is part and parcel of rebellion, (a more apt term than "civil disobedience", which implies a master). I doubt Rosa Parks, Ghandi and the others even thought twice about having popular support. If you take the decision to be obedient for the sake of expediency then the battle is over and you've lost. A million blog entries makes no arrest and refusal to capitulate, on the other hand does!

Mike Kole said...

Put myself in jail by refusing to pay the fines? Easy for you to say, Mister!

Michael said...

Oh, I understand. Don't get me wrong. Everyone has to pick their battles and assign a level of importance to them. the Nazgul in DC have already ruled on this matter there is little recourse other than obedience or rebellion. We just have to figure which we prefer in the final analysis and what we are willing to pay for it.

Mike Kole said...

Jeff- Funny thing is, when you become a candidate, under FEC, you cease to be an individual in their eyes. Everything I do is sanctioned by my Committee. You will see the phrase, "paid for and authorized by the Committee to Elect Mike Kole; Ken Johnson, Treasurer," all over my stuff.

So you or any other non-candidate could link to Federal candidates and be fine. But because I have a non-Federal committee, I am not an individual, and am caused to be seperated from my Federal brethren.