UPDATE: I’m glad I put in “may have” as now it appears the Times-Call made a mistake and left out the “paid for by” notice that was included with the advertisement. The City Clerk has verified the Times-Call’s mistake and no further action will be taken.
A couple things here: I haven’t seen the original ad so I can’t say where this notice was placed, but Ms. Levison should know that this notice should be fairly prominent, not some small print at the bottom that was clipped due to space constraints, if that was the case.
Secondly, the Times-Call made it clearly appear, and still does on it’s online edition, that someone violated the LFCPA. So do they get off the hook scot-free, while if a candidate did this they would get a ticket and fine? They need to either refund Ms. Levison’s ad placement fee or run it again for free. Anyone who saw this ad and were familiar with the LFCPA would come to the conclusion that the LFCPA was violated.
Below is the original piece unedited:
If anyone should be familiar with the amended Longmont Fair Campaign Practices Act (LFCPA) and all of its nuances, it should be Councilmember Sarah Levison. She was on the task force in charge of going through the ordinance line by line and making changes to it. Seems she’s violated a section of this law with an advertisement she placed in the October 2, 2011 Times-Call.
Under Section 2.04.206.5 Electioneering communications it says: C. If the electioneering communication has been paid for and authorized by a candidate or candidate’s committee, or its agents, or made in cooperation with or with the prior consent of, or in or coordination with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate or candidate’s committee, or its agents, the electioneering communication shall clearly state that the communication has been authorized and paid for by such candidate, candidate committee or agent, or made in cooperation with or with the prior consent of, or in consultation or coordination with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate or candidate’s committee, or its agents. Such disclosure shall be prominently featured in the electioneering communication. (Ord. No. O-2010-49, § 7, 10-26-2010) (relevant emphasis added)
Directly above this ad was a Bryan Baum ad that did have the proper information. So I find it a little hard to believe that it was just a mistake on the Times-Call’s part.
The fine for this violation is not clear. Under 2.04.211 Violations and civil fines this could fall under a couple parts. 1. Failure to file a report required by this Act, other than independent expenditures: $400.00 per day, for up to ten days. OR 13. Any violation of this Act not otherwise set forth herein: $100.00. The clock started running either the day this ad ran or when someone placed the ad, and the City Clerk has been notified as of October 5th. That’s 4 days = $1,600 – so far.
They say ignorance of the law is no excuse. Ms. Levison really has no excuse at all here.