No level of protection for the taxpayer is left, as any defining lines to cross are swept away like sand.
That’s right, ‘the king’ dictates a yes vote.
Enjoy the commercial Rick Snyder has made with taxpayer dollars. All we did was add the funk for all the junk in Lansing’s trunk.
When the bureaucracy cannot (or WILL NOT) tell the difference between an opinion and a directive (express advocacy), no citizen protections are left in play. The Bureau of Elections had already tipped its hand that a denial of my complaint was coming prior to receiving it. The spokesguy Fred Woodhams made that announcement even admitting they had not yet seen it.
How could it possibly be doing its job if it had already made the decision without review of the facts? How could the process be properly run, if the denial of the complaint had to be crafted and spun to fit a predetermined outcome? Strangely enough, Woodhams himself has previously said that no statements about such things should happen prior to review. In 2012:
“Secretary of State Spokesman Fred Woodhams said that the office had received the complaint as of Friday. Woodhams said the Secretary of State’s office does not comment on allegations until they have an opportunity to review it.”
Pretty FUNKY, yes?
Indeed. Something stinks in Lansing, and it ain’t the Red Cedar Drain.
The common claim of why the complaint was not good, is clause a. of section 1 of part 57 of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act. They are wrapping it all up in that section in which the first of the exemptions read:
(a) The expression of views by an elected or appointed public official who has policy making responsibilities.
Of all of the parts of the denial, discussions with SoS officers, all indicators suggest THIS line is the defining line under which the decision was based.
To which I must point out that I agree with this line. We can no more tell our elected representatives what to think, or how they can express their opinion than they could to us! Saying that someone believes in a position, supports a position, or even officially adopts a yea or nay position is a matter of formulating public policy. We would be finding fault in nearly every community every year!
But there MUST be a line that is crossed for the law to even have a reason to exist. There must be a valid reason to have such protections for the public as part 57 of the MCFA, and there is no question the following is it. Snyder’s statement from the State of the State:
In the end what I need you to do is vote yes. Vote yes, so we can have safer roads. Vote yes so we can get rid of the crackling bridges and crumbling roads. Vote yes so we can have stronger schools and local government. Vote yes so we can have tax relief for the lower income people. There are only good reasons to vote yes. Let’s get it done, let’s get it done in May and do it right, thank you.
Highlighted emphasis on the law breaking.
Whether constructively or even separate by six times, the 30 second segment was INDEED a commercial planted in the middle of the 45 minute speech. Each time he spoke those words, the governor went beyond merely offering an opinion, and engaged in deliberate and express advocacy.
But it was only 30 seconds right? 30 seconds in the midst of a 45 minute speech. A trivial amount given the weight of the presentation in its entirety. The bureau did make this a supporting point in their denial. Another supporting point was that a 2005 Bureau decision suggested that this type of thing was not at all like mass mailing advocacy at taxpayer expense.
To the first point of triviality, I should point out that shoplifting in Meijers is looked at in the same way as shoplifting in a 7-11. The second point is misapplication, as I am sure that if election committees omitted all expenses related to television, presentations, or radio, from a finance statement it would be seen as a violation. Even ‘cost free’ emailing advocacy attempts from public resources have been squashed under their the MCFA before. Add to this, the fact that the advocacy is at this time STILL published on the taxpayer funded site, we are by default paying for it.
Clearly, there has been an intervention somewhere within the department which is designed to protect the governor from embarrassment. the embarrassment has certainly moved elsewhere under the current circumstances to be sure.
Perhaps the Secretary of State’s Elections Bureau has decided its reputation could use a little tarnish to balance the contrasts that have appeared between it and the executive over the last four years.
The paint of shame is cheap, we’ll apply it ‘liberally.’