Written in anger, regret it later
I think Bill Christofferson let his temper get the better of him. I bet he wishes he never wrote the following:
Republican radio host Charlie Sykes is quite proud of himself for producing and airing an ad comparing Gov. Jim Doyle to two racist former Southern governors George Wallace and Orville Faubus, on the issue of school choice.
He’s talking freely about how he and a WTMJ radio production person, Jim Gilles, produced the spot. Sykes is airing it on his program. He’s posted the script and audio on his weblog.
It has no disclaimer, because, he tells WisPolitics, no one is paying for it.
Actually, that’s not true. Journal Communications, and its Journal Broadcast Group, which owns WTMJ radio, is paying for it.
It is a corporation running free issue advertising on a bill that is in the legislature.
If that sounds illegal, it’s because it is. State law does not allow corporations to run issue or political advertising, although in some instances it allows them to contribute to groups that do, like Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
Brian Fraley answered it best by challenging Bill to go ahead and file the complaint with the state elections board. I’ll do Brian one better. The executive director of the state elections board is Kevin J. Kennedy, 608-266-8005. The legal counsel is George Dunst, 608-266-8005. (I wouldn’t suggest to Bill he tell them I sent him. They might just hang up without hearing his complaint.) Kennedy would definitely be the more sympathetic of the two, but even he will have to concede that unless Sykes and Journal Communications “coordinates” the activity with either the Walker campaign or the Green campaign, it doesn’t matter what Sykes says or does. And by coordination, Walker or Green would have to have directed Sykes and Journal Communications on the content of the piece, the timing of it and its distribution.
Another way of looking at it shows just how ridiculous Christofferson’s position really is. If Christofferson endorses a candidate or a political position on his blog, does that mean Wispolitics.com is responsible for filing a campaign contribution report with the state elections board? Are they in violation everytime he carries water for Kathleen Falk or Jim Doyle?
Sorry Bill, but as a political consultant you should know better. I think you owe Sykes an apology.
(Texas Hold’em Blogger has the round up of the other blogs weighing in on the controversy.)
Update! 1/20/06 I have more on the subject here.