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August 16, 2005

Ads attacking Senn ruled illegal

The Seattle PI reports that the Chamber of Commerce's anonymous, sleazy attack ads against Deborah Senn last fall were in fact illegal.

A King County judge has ruled that an advertising blitz last fall against Democratic attorney general candidate Deborah Senn was illegal because the ads attacked her directly but didn't disclose who was paying for them.

Representatives from the local committee, which accepted a single, $1.5 million contribution from the U.S. chamber, maintained that they were not subject to state election finance law. The Public Disclosure Commission disagreed, saying the group must file reports of its contributions and expenditures. The agency and Senn filed suit in King County Superior Court.

What sad here is that justice came months after the damage was done.  I hope the judge in the case imposes a very significant fine in order to deter this kind of criminal behavior -- perhaps $1.5 million, the amount spent on the ads, would be appropriate.

What would be even better would be if our state legislature would consider banning or sharply limiting corporations from funding any kind of election-related advertising during election season.  After all, corporations are created by We The People, and thus we have every right to define what they can and cannot do.  Worth noting: our neighbors to the north passed some pretty tough campaign finance reform in 2004.

Posted by Jon Stahl on August 16, 2005 at 08:11 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink


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Sorry (in advance) to sidetrack your post, for you make a salient point about campaign finance reform.

I found your comment about corporations belonging to We The People very interesting. Coincidentally, the founding fathers never intended for corporations to be permanent institutions. In fact, corporate charters were issued on a temporary, non-recurring basis in the early days of our country. My how times have changed.

Posted by: Dave | Aug 17, 2005 1:03:01 PM

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