Corporate sockpuppetry for Team Obama?

posted at 8:30 am on September 22, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Rusty Shackleford has done extensive research into the efforts to smear Sarah Palin as a member of a secessionist party, when in fact she has been a lifelong Republican.  Videos that appeared on YouTube supporting this smear have been tracked — circumstantially, but substantially — to the CEO of a public-relations firm, strongly suggesting that the smear campaign did not arise organically as an outgrowth of Palinmania but had financing, planning, and intent.  Who would have had the means for such a campaign?  I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Rusty runs down the evidence at hand:

  • Evidence suggests that a YouTube video with false claims about Palin was uploaded and promoted by members of a professional PR firm.
  • The family that runs the PR firm has extensive ties to the Democratic Party, the netroots, and are staunch Obama supporters.
  • Evidence suggests that the firm engaged in a concerted effort to distribute the video in such a way that it would appear to have gone viral on its own. Yet this effort took place on company time.
  • Evidence suggests that these distribution efforts included actions by at least one employee of the firm who is unconnected with the family running the company.
  • The voice-over artist used in this supposedly amateur video is a professional.
  • This same voice-over artist has worked extensively with David Axelrod’s firm, which has a history of engaging in phony grassroots efforts, otherwise known as “astroturfing.”
  • David Axelrod is Barack Obama’s chief media strategist.
  • The same voice-over artist has worked directly for the Barack Obama campaign.

Rusty tracks this down to Winner & Associates, and to Chuck and Ethan Winner, the family that owns it.  If all of this is true and the Obama campaign can be connected to it, it would represent a massive set of FEC violations, as well as the ultimate repudiation of “hope and change” and “New Politics”.  In fact, it would be a massive demonstration of Chicago Politics on a national scale.

Could this be true?  Normally, one would shrug off such a suggestion by saying that no national campaign would be dumb enough to try this, especially one ahead in the polls.  However, consider what Team Obama did to Stanley Kurtz and David Freddoso.  They don’t seem hesitant in the least to conduct smear campaigns and character assassination to win elections, and they conducted those two attacks openly.  With that kind of track record, it doesn’t seem out of the question for them to have conducted a slimy, unethical attack on a political opponent who threatened to steal all of the oxygen away from their campaign in a way that hid their involvement.

This would normally be a great story for our national media to investigate and expose.  Will they?  Don’t hold your breath, but do read all of Rusty’s post and his continuing updates.


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Comment pages: 1 2

J.J. Sefton on September 22, 2008 at 9:21 AM

So that’s how they intend to deflect media attention from this mess.

As for that situation, I’m all for using foreclosure records. If someone doesn’t live where he says he lives, he doesn’t have a right to vote there. That’s a two way street; they have a right to protest any Republicans in the same boat. I’m all for every eligible voter voting once… and not one vote more. Voting is a right for which we are responsible to protect, and ensuring that you don’t forfeit your right to vote falls in the “responsible” part.

Back on topic, I’m still waiting for the McCain camp to flood the airwaves about this situation. Every second that it doesn’t is an opportunity that is lost.

flutejpl on September 22, 2008 at 10:51 AM

If you take the low road, remember you’re on the low road.

Dave Rywall on September 22, 2008 at 10:29 AM

obama sure doesn’t have to worry about falling off, he’s as low as you can go.

right4life on September 22, 2008 at 10:53 AM

All that I wonder is why the leaders of a PR firm would use their real name on youtube? It seems far too easy to track.

But with the videos down, it seems to be an admission of guilt.

Keljeck on September 22, 2008 at 9:16 AM

It has been shown time and again, liberals think they are above the law. They know that nothing will happen to them. Plus they are so busy they can’t remember all of the different log in names.
It just wasn’t important, they think that others are not as smart as them.
JAWA did an awesome report…staggering. You can bet Rush will be on this today.
This may be even big enough for the MSM to get involved…once again, the MSM are played for fools. They will take just so much of this.

right2bright on September 22, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Prediction: we will lose this election because of the slime merchants and voter cheating that defines Chicago politics.

ACORN has been caught illegally registering tens of thousands of voters in numerous states. Democrats are successfully bypassing election laws in Virginia to allow college voters to register AND vote absentee on the same day. All attempts to require voter identification at the polls (in some states) are challenged in court.

Cheaters, by their very character, are not bothered by the ethical malfeasance that helped them win. They believe the end justifies the means.

There are three stragegies that can be employed to defeat this: 1) cheat too (not recommended- voter fraud is a felony) 2) get our voters out legally- man the phone banks, talk to your friends, drive republicans to the polls on election day 3) Raise the profile of the cheaters by calling your congressman, news agencies, etc. and demand that the fraud be prosecuted.

I’m doing #2 and #3, but ultimately, I think we’re screwed.

lionheart on September 22, 2008 at 10:56 AM

MSM: Gee whiz, we’d love to look into this story some more, but we just got a hot tip from Sarah Palin’s hairdresser’s cousin’s girlfriend’s plumber, who told that stuffed her bra in seventh grade. We have no choice but to wonder what else she’d be willing to deceive the country about.

Bruce in NH on September 22, 2008 at 10:58 AM

This just in from MSNBC: Link

right2bright on September 22, 2008 at 10:58 AM

The path to the MSM:

1. Rush reads Hot Air for show prep and will be all over this story.

2. Drudge listens to Rush and posts a link to Rusty’s sleuthing.

3. Bill O’Reilly’s website was allegedly hacked after he spotlighted Palin’s email account hacking last week. If he wants to go on a rampage about techno-thugs, this story fits. O’Reilly’s email address is oreilly@foxnews.com.

4. My money’s on Jake Tapper to be the first MSM-er to write about this story.

Terrie on September 22, 2008 at 11:03 AM

They’re guilty.

echosyst on September 22, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Some people have their party blinders on so tight their objectivity pants fall down.

From up here, it’s obvious fringe as*holes on each side are trying to spread lies. But on Hotair, the entire left is painted with this brush. Even when Allahpundit posts something calling bullsh*t on something most of you (predictably) circle the wagons and claim the opposite is true.

Dave Rywall on September 22, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Mc Cain has a lot of ammunition to attack Obama with. What is he waiting for, help from the media? Fat chance!

pukara61 on September 22, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Why is when I look at his face with those eyebrows and that mustache, I think this guy has a canny resemblance of Adolph Hitler.

cmptrnerd on September 22, 2008 at 11:15 AM

J.J. Sefton:

That article in the Michigan Messenger is FALSE and Carabelli is suing the paper for libel. This is more astroturfed bullshit from the Obama campaign. I heard state GOP chairman Saul Anuzis on XM POTUS ’08 completely debunk this story and flat out call the reporter who wrote it a liar and a shill for Obama. Of course, the fact that you got it in an email means it is being astroturfed now. IT IS BULLSHIT. Obama’s people are already out agitating about voter suppression by Republicans, of course to throw up a smokescreen to hide their own ACORN voter fraud.

rockmom on September 22, 2008 at 11:21 AM

I just have one question. John, Mr. integrity, when are you going to let the world see the whitey tape? We have firing solution, IMHO.

max1 on September 22, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Hmm. Not his place to run the tape. The tape only proves that Michelle is racist, not Barack himself. Best left to some organization with no campaign connection (the way Barack apparently has chosen to do things). We all have relatives (in some cases, our spouses) who have prejudices that do not match our own. Although, unlike the cases of Rev. Wright, Mr. Rezko, or Mr. Ayers, it will be much harder for Obama to successfully opine on Oprah “This is not the Michelle Obama I’ve known for twenty years…”.

The most he can do is stay silent, and leave the counter-attack to his allies. There’s an anecdote about LBJ that illustrates this. LBJ, instructing his campaign manager to put out word that his opponent, a pig farmer, had carnal knowledge of his swine, pointed out (after his campaign manager protested that the accusation wasn’t true), “I’d just like to make him deny it.” Translation: Directly denying your opponent’s accusation sometimes just makes it stick harder.

This is even more true when the accusation is correct. In fact, put it out, protest it’s false, and make factcheck.org put their imprimatur on it. That way, it’s in everyone’s face with the indelible mark of truth.

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2008 at 11:24 AM

I don’t think the MSM will pick up on this unless they have to (for instance, if the McCain campaign brings it up).

Yes, because they’re cheering for Obama, but mostly because they got scooped by an independent blogger, who they see as a threat to their power.

Kenrod on September 22, 2008 at 11:26 AM

We all know that money changed hands. They’re Democrats.

bloggless on September 22, 2008 at 11:28 AM

I dunno, guys. Look at the FEC website again: http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/notices.shtml.

I think political action committees are subject to one set of disclaimer/disclosures rules and individuals are subject to another.

Individuals seem to be subject to these rules only for any “electioneering communication” (defined below) and on any public communication by any person that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or solicits funds in connection with a federal election. An “electioneering communication” is a broadcast, cable or satellite communication that fulfills each of the following conditions: (a) Refers to a clearly identified federal candidate; (b) is publicly distributed within 30 days before a primary election or within 60 days before a general election; and (c) In the case of Congressional candidates only, is “targeted to the relevant electorate”(can be received by 50,000 or more persons in the district or state the candidate seeks to represent)

Looks to me that this not covered:(i) it was not an electioneering communication because it was not a broadcast, cable or satellite communication and (ii) it didn’t advocate the election or defeat of a candidate.

This assumes an individual was behind this and not a PAC.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 11:50 AM

Axelrod gets the grease.

Christine on September 22, 2008 at 11:52 AM

Looks to me that this not covered:(i) it was not an electioneering communication because it was not a broadcast, cable or satellite communication and (ii) it didn’t advocate the election or defeat of a candidate.

This assumes an individual was behind this and not a PAC.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 11:50 AM

I thought the same…but the article clearly shows that the postings and comments were made during office hours from a company that does this professionally. An company who has done this before and it is a paid for contracted service they provide.
Therefore, just saying they are individuals, does not make them individuals. Using paid professionals for voice over is tantamount to a donation. And these various organizations were and are clients of theirs.
That argument of “private individuals” goes out the window, when the company specializes in “grass organizing”. This was put out to defeat a candidate, to pass misinformation (lies and deception) that is targeted to make a candidate look bad, in essence defeat them.
You can bet the “scrubbing” going on right now is frantic in the Obama campaign headquarters to erase any connection to these creeps.
Axelrod is meeting right now, I imagine, on how to spin this thing…if the MSM does pick up on this, it could be all over for Obama…therefore they will ignore it.

right2bright on September 22, 2008 at 12:10 PM

I haven’t seen the ad (I’m at work and can’t get access to some sites). Does the ad expressly advocate the defeat of McCain/Palin or the election of Obama/Biden, right2bright?

I’ll go on the FEC website to find out more info.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 12:39 PM

gypsum now claims that the Obama campaign is made up of fringe wackos?

I never thought I would agree with gypsum on anything.

MarkTheGreat on September 22, 2008 at 12:47 PM

Here’s a link to the actual regulation: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2008/janqtr/11cfr110.11.htm.

I don’t think the regulations apply if the message didn’t specifically advocate defeat of McCain/Palin or election of Obama/Biden so long as the ad wasn’t made or sent by a PAC and (I’m assuming this) didn’t ask for money. That’s because (1), (2) and (3) below don’t apply and because it’s not a cable, satellite or TV ad so (4) below doesn’t apply.

Sec. 110.11 Communications; advertising; disclaimers (2 U.S.C 441d).

(a) Scope. The following communications must include disclaimers, as specified in this section:
(1) All public communications, as defined in 11 CFR 100.26, made by a political committee; electronic mail of more than 500 substantially similar communications when sent by a political committee; and all Internet websites of political committees available to the general public.
(2) All public communications, as defined in 11 CFR 100.26, by any person that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate.
(3) All public communications, as defined in 11 CFR 100.26, by any person that solicit any contribution.
(4) All electioneering communications by any person.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Can someone get this on Rush or Drudge?

And Ed/Allah, shouldn’t this story be in the top picks?

thirteen28 on September 22, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Prediction: we will lose this election because of the slime merchants and voter cheating that defines Chicago politics.

ACORN has been caught illegally registering tens of thousands of voters in numerous states. Democrats are successfully bypassing election laws in Virginia to allow college voters to register AND vote absentee on the same day. All attempts to require voter identification at the polls (in some states) are challenged in court.

Cheaters, by their very character, are not bothered by the ethical malfeasance that helped them win. They believe the end justifies the means.

There are three stragegies that can be employed to defeat this: 1) cheat too (not recommended- voter fraud is a felony) 2) get our voters out legally- man the phone banks, talk to your friends, drive republicans to the polls on election day 3) Raise the profile of the cheaters by calling your congressman, news agencies, etc. and demand that the fraud be prosecuted.

I’m doing #2 and #3, but ultimately, I think we’re screwed.

lionheart on September 22, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Obama’s team already tried to “win” the Indiana primary by sending people from Chicago to Gary, IN to vote. Apparently, the election workers were turning away people without valid ID there. Plus, the fact that it took forever to count votes in Lake County, IN is pretty fishy.

Illinidiva on September 22, 2008 at 1:22 PM

If you take the low road, remember you’re on the low road.

Dave Rywall on September 22, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Even the low road has a ditch. Obama’s bus has driven into it,, and can’t get back up.

Yoop on September 22, 2008 at 1:25 PM

Timing is everything. McCain understands this. Let’s have a little patience and faith.

Here’s one reason why – if you give the MSM and Obama too much time, they will spin this and anything else into a non-story.

This might be an ace to keep in our back-pocket for now.

connertown on September 22, 2008 at 1:25 PM

I haven’t seen the ad (I’m at work and can’t get access to some sites). Does the ad expressly advocate the defeat of McCain/Palin or the election of Obama/Biden, right2bright?

I’ll go on the FEC website to find out more info.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 12:39 PM

No, but that is not the criteria. How many ads expressly advocate the defeat of Obama or McCain?…they point out the weaknesses. I can’t remember any ad expressly advocating defeat, they usually point out a problem in the candidate, sometimes a scandal.
McCain ad often says “not ready to lead”, it never says “defeat” Obama.
Remember this is was sold as a “grass roots” video, so it by definition it won’t have the components of a typical campaign ad, it was designed to deceive.
It is the purpose of the ad that is at heart. To destroy a reputation by a company specializing in liberal campaigns doesn’t have to call for “defeat”, but imply defeat by presenting false accusations.

right2bright on September 22, 2008 at 1:26 PM

Even the low road has a ditch. Obama’s bus has driven into it,, and can’t get back up.

Yoop on September 22, 2008 at 1:25 PM

And here it is.

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2008 at 1:26 PM

Dammit, here it is.

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2008 at 1:26 PM

From up here, it’s obvious as*holes are trying to spread lies. The entire left is with this.

Dave Rywall on September 22, 2008 at 11:09 AM

See how easy it is. Just like the Obama campaign did to Rush, John and Sarah. Do you deny those are your words you wrote?

Yoop on September 22, 2008 at 1:29 PM

I’m sure both sides have other sleeper youtube ID’s they set up a long time ago just waiting to be used to post videos with.

Dave Rywall

See Dave, here’s where we differ.

I can see the evidence here that the Winner organization deliberately engaged in astroturfing and tried to pass this off as an “independent view”.

So I feel pretty sure that the Dems have done this.

But I have no evidence, proof, or even reason for speculation that the Republican party has done this.

So I’m not sure that they have.

Somehow I require some minimal level of proof, evidence, or information before I feel sure about something.

I’m curious, how exactly do you feel sure about unproven allegations? Is your gut feeling now as (or more) important than evidence?

Yeah, some people are making partisan comments here. But man up and admit you’re one of them. You’ve said proof of Democrat wrongdoing makes you sure that both sides are guilty.

Does that sounds rational and nonpartisan?

gekkobear on September 22, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Dammit, two hours and Rush hasn’t touched this.

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2008 at 1:52 PM

All things considered, what Dave Rywall says in his posts, and especially what Dave Rywall thinks of the US elections, doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. He won’t be voting in this election. Also, he sure as hell isn’t posting in an arena where he is going to change many minds by offering liberal-tainted analysis.

He has either been banned from the Canadian blogs where his ideas might actually change someone’s mind and vote in their upcoming elections, the ones that more directly effect him, or he is so anti-American that he just can’t help himself.

Yoop on September 22, 2008 at 1:53 PM

Rywall is simply invoking the standard lefty troll response when the Democrats are caught doing something wrong.

“They all do it. The Rethuglicans are just as bad.”

flenser on September 22, 2008 at 1:59 PM

It’s a campaign advertisement and it is subject to FEC reporting rules. I would take this case to the FEC in a heartbeat. If the Obama camp were not scared of that happening they would have left the video up. If you look at the original screenshots you ese that the Winners employed sockpuppet accounts at YouTube to “endorse” the video and urge people to spread it around on behalf of Obama. It is professionally produced and placed by people who produce campaign advertising, probably from their place of business during business hours. They took the entire YouTube accounts down because the sockpuppet comments were incriminating.

If Winner used corporate accounts to pay employees to produce the video and pay the actress for the voiceover, this is an illegal corporate contribution to the Obama campaign at worst, and at best it is illegal corporate electioneering.

rockmom on September 22, 2008 at 2:16 PM

So, a frind of the court law suit by an org. “Defence of the Palin Children” call in say Axlerod and this voice person. Ask them real quesions with the perjury thing just near.

Ms Voice Person, Did you get paid, who paid you, if not why did you do the work, did Mr. Azlerod ask you to do it free?

Mr. Axlerod, have you disscussed this work with Sen. Obama in say his Senate offices, what did you know and when did you know it.

Why do you think the Youtube vid’s were taken down and who do you think was the person or persons who did the removal.

badtothebone on September 22, 2008 at 2:17 PM

Actually, right2bright, that is part of the criteria.

Go back and look at the law and the link. The disclaimer requirement only applies to:

(1) All public communications, as defined in 11 CFR 100.26, made by a political committee; electronic mail of more than 500 substantially similar communications when sent by a political committee; and all Internet websites of political committees available to the general public.
(2) All public communications, as defined in 11 CFR 100.26, by any person that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate.
(3) All public communications, as defined in 11 CFR 100.26, by any person that solicit any contribution.
(4) All electioneering communications by any person.

Electioneering communications are, by definition, broadcast, cable or satellite communications. If this was sent via the internet, then (4) wouldn’t apply.

If this didn’t ask for money, then (3) wouldn’t apply.

If this didn’t expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, then (2) wouldn’t apply.

And if it was an internet communication done by an individual, unless it was a paid advertisement placed on a third party website, then it appears that (1) wouldn’t apply. Take a look at this link (excerpts follow): http://www.fec.gov/members/weintraub/nprm/statement20060327.pdf.

“FEC Internet Rulemaking – Background and FAQ

by Vice Chairman Robert D. Lenhard and Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub

On Monday, March 27, 2006, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) will vote on new regulations regarding communications over the Internet…..
In 2002, Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, or McCain-Feingold law. The new law placed restrictions on certain “public communications.” A “public communication” was defined in the law as “a communication by means of any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, mass mailing, or telephone bank to the general public, or any other form of general public political advertising.”

In 2002, the FEC drafted regulations implementing these provisions. Because the Internet was not specifically mentioned in the statutory definition, the Commission said communications on the Internet were not “public communications.” Congressmen Shays and Meehan sued the FEC because of this exclusion. In 2004, a District Court found that the Commission could not exclude the entire Internet from its definition, but instead, had to craft a regulation to include that aspect of the Internet that is “general public political advertising.”

The new rule responds to the Court’s ruling …….
What Internet activity is covered by the new public communication definition?

The new definition of “public communication” continues to exclude communications over the Internet, except for advertisements placed on another person’s website. Paid advertisements are the only Internet activity covered by the new definition. (§ 100.26)

What is the impact of the new definition?
The definition is only relevant to the few entities whose activities are already covered in the statute or regulation by the definition of “public communication.” Individuals are not generally regulated by this definition, except in those unusual circumstances where they place paid political advertising on the websites of third parties. The entities that are currently regulated by the term “public communication” are state, district, and local party committees, FEC registered political committees (such as Federal candidate committees, national party committees, and PACs), and state or local candidates that run ads promoting or attacking a Federal candidate.

How do the new rules affect Internet political activity by individuals?
The new rules explicitly exempt from regulation the Internet activities of unpaid individuals or groups of individuals. An individual or group of individual’s ability to develop webpages, send electronic messages, provide hyperlinks, forward material that has been cut and pasted from political websites, or otherwise use computer or Internet resources for political activity are all exempt from regulation. (§ 100.94 and § 100.155)”

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 2:21 PM

The headline for this item sucks, as it gives no clear that it’s about the Palin smears. Who the hell wants to click on Axlerod’s ugly mug over “sock puppetry”?

Godzilla on September 22, 2008 at 2:28 PM

I have no knowledge of whether the videos were yanked.

However, if they were, so what? The toothpaste is out of the tube: the videos did their work.

Also, yanked or not, the big problem–the FEC issues–remain unresolved.
__________

RJGatorEsq. on September 22, 2008 at 8:36 AM

They were yanked very shortly after the story broke – and at least one of the accounts was deleted. I was awake and watching when it was going on.

Seems to point to guilt to me.

capitalist piglet on September 22, 2008 at 2:29 PM

capitalist piglet on September 22, 2008 at 2:29 PM

It seems to me as though the left is finding out what it means to have to make quick decisions when the phone rings at 3 AM. Well, 1:30 AM, but anyway…

flutejpl on September 22, 2008 at 2:34 PM

flutejpl on September 22, 2008 at 2:34 PM

Yeah, I was picturing Ethan and his daddy scrambling ass in the middle of the night, scurrying like rats. How stupid would you have to be to try to pull something like this, using screen names that are pretty much your real names?

capitalist piglet on September 22, 2008 at 2:43 PM

flenser on September 22, 2008 at 1:59 PM

I have noticed that, of late, Rywall’s M.O. is to enter the room, drop one or two loud, pungent brain farts and then scurry out.

Dave, I hereby dub thee the “Drive-By Troll.”

ManlyRash on September 22, 2008 at 2:43 PM

If you take the low road, remember you’re on the low road.

Dave Rywall on September 22, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Yeah? How’s the view down there Dave?

Big John on September 22, 2008 at 2:44 PM

Not just the videos pulled, but now Kos Diaries has pulled the “send this message to ten friends–go viral” post that included the video links as just posted at Ace of Spades. (Old comments are now unaccessible too.)

Obama’s entire campaign is built upon being “different”, Dave. And if his followers aren’t heeding his most-sincere, “no dirty politics” plea, then he’s not good enough to be President if he can’t handle his own people.

andycanuck on September 22, 2008 at 2:51 PM

So, Dog, do you also contend that the MSM leans heavily Right because many people at Hot Air (including Michelle) watch TV???

Your post is highly illogical. Can you name a major university that isn’t heavily infected with leftist professors? And does the existence of conservative college graduates from these universities prove that the universities are “right-leaning”????

PS: George Bush and Mitt Romney are, at best, marginal examples of Conservative graduates.

landlines on September 22, 2008 at 10:37 AM

Let’s just say I’m not guessing.

TheBigOldDog on September 22, 2008 at 3:05 PM

What is the impact of the new definition?
The definition is only relevant to the few entities whose activities are already covered in the statute or regulation by the definition of “public communication.” Individuals are not generally regulated by this definition, except in those unusual circumstances where they place paid political advertising on the websites of third parties. The entities that are currently regulated by the term “public communication” are state, district, and local party committees, FEC registered political committees (such as Federal candidate committees, national party committees, and PACs), and state or local candidates that run ads promoting or attacking a Federal candidate.
How do the new rules affect Internet political activity by individuals?
The new rules explicitly exempt from regulation the Internet activities of unpaid individuals or groups of individuals. An individual or group of individual’s ability to develop webpages, send electronic messages, provide hyperlinks, forward material that has been cut and pasted from political websites, or otherwise use computer or Internet resources for political activity are all exempt from regulation. (§ 100.94 and § 100.155)”

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 2:21 PM

Given that Axelrod and Winner & Associates are paid entities of the Obama campaign, it would seem that they violated the spirit and possibly the definition of these regulations.

Hollowpoint on September 22, 2008 at 3:07 PM

If there’s even the remotest possibility that as a result of investigating this, a lib my face a wrist slap, you can rest assured our top notch media will do its utmost to bury it and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Iblis on September 22, 2008 at 3:08 PM

Obama is a POS, he got a free ride for 18 months and he can’t let Sarah Palin get 3 days or a positive impression by the public.

He’s a POS.

They say, about a first impression?

Marketing advertising, and PR Firms..(especially, when Yahoo!, Google, AOL and YouTube, And CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, NY Times, LA Times, All the rest) ARE LIBERALS And in the Tank for Obama!

Chakra Hammer on September 22, 2008 at 3:10 PM

But, Obama and team(including the Media Have NO Credibility)

Chakra Hammer on September 22, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Hollowpoint, it’s not that clear. Here’s the definiton from the FEC rules:

Sec. 100.26 Public communication (2 U.S.C. 431(22)).

Public communication means a communication by means of any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, mass mailing, or telephone bank to the general public, or any other form of general public political advertising. The term general public political advertising shall not
include communications over the Internet, except for communications placed for a fee on another person’s Web site.

That looks to me to mean that a viral internet ad would not be covered unless the political committee paid for it to be placed on someone else’s website.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 3:49 PM

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 2:21 PM

Good try, but advocate does not mean you have to use the words “advocate”, if the purpose of the message was to promote or demote a candidate, then that is advocacy. When done with the intention of promotion.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you think that people don’t want to vote in a Muslim.
So you have a “private” person who has done videos for you, and who has a relationship with your campaign manager, decides to make a “private” video showing Obama as a Muslim, stating that he has called for the destruction of Israel. But does not call for his defeat, just that he hates Jews, and embraces the Koran. You would deem that as not a political video? You would say that is not an advocacy position?
Then you and I have a different view on what is advocacy…and so does the FEC.
Sorry Jimmy, your argument is weak because you don’t understand the word advocacy…you think it has to be blatant.
Video
You would not consider the above advocacy, it just says Obama is not ready to lead.

right2bright on September 22, 2008 at 4:12 PM

Right2bright:

“(2) All public communications, as defined in 11 CFR 100.26, by any person that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate.

I think that’s what express means.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 4:32 PM

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 4:32 PM

Good for you, now look up advocate…sheeeesh, good try but you see you have to use all the words in a sentence (in this case the noun), not just the ones that support your case.
Notice my post was about the main word “advocate”. That is one who speaks on someone else’s behalf (or influence political decisions).
You see, when a corporate relationship exists (like what is being reported) and that person speaks on the others behalf, that is gives information that is detrimental to a candidate. Then they are an advocate, in this case, for the Obama campaign. They are “expressly” stating, without any other reason, a purposeful distortion to influence a political decision.
They are “expressly advocating” their clients intent.
Get it??? If you don’t then I would state…No one is that stupid, you are being expressly obstructive.

right2bright on September 22, 2008 at 4:49 PM

That looks to me to mean that a viral internet ad would not be covered unless the political committee paid for it to be placed on someone else’s website.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 3:49 PM

Between which parties does money need to be exchanged in order for this rule to apply to these viral videos: O! camp and PR firm or PR firm and website where videos are posted?

Y-not on September 22, 2008 at 5:02 PM

Some stuff from the FEC website:

Independent expenditures expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified federal candidate by using messages such as “vote for” or “defeat” and are made independently of a candidate’s campaign. See http://www.fec.gov/press/press2004/20041020indexp.html.

And here’s the actual statutory definition:

Sec. 100.22 Expressly advocating (2 U.S.C. 431(17)).

Expressly advocating means any communication that–(a) Uses phrases such as “vote for the President,” “re-elect your Congressman,” “support the Democratic nominee,” “cast your ballot for the Republican challenger for U.S. Senate in Georgia,” “Smith for Congress,” “Bill McKay in ’94,” “vote Pro-Life” or “vote Pro-Choice” accompanied by a listing of clearly identified candidates
described as Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, “vote against Old Hickory,” “defeat” accompanied by a picture of one or more candidate(s), “reject the incumbent,” or communications of campaign slogan(s) or individual word(s), which in context can have no other reasonable
meaning than to urge the election or defeat of one or more clearly identified candidate(s), such as posters, bumper stickers, advertisements, etc. which say “Nixon’s the One,” “Carter ’76,” “Reagan/Bush” or “Mondale!”; or
(b) When taken as a whole and with limited reference to external events, such as the proximity to the election, could only be interpreted by a reasonable person as containing advocacy of the election or defeat
of one or more clearly identified candidate(s) because–
(1) The electoral portion of the communication is unmistakable, unambiguous, and suggestive of only one meaning; and
(2) Reasonable minds could not differ as to whether it encourages actions to elect or defeat one or more clearly identified candidate(s) or encourages some other kind of action.

[60 FR 35304, July 6, 1995]

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 5:04 PM

Y-not, I think it requires payment for placement on a website. Payment to make the ad doesn’t look to be enough.

Right2bright, I haven’t seen the video, but if the video doesn’t say something about defeating Palin, it might be difficult to have “the electoral portion of the communication being unmistakable, unambiguous, and suggestive of only one meaning”.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 5:09 PM

Ever see a more slimy, shifty, greaseball than Axelrod?

marklmail on September 22, 2008 at 5:36 PM

Right2bright, I haven’t seen the video, but if the video doesn’t say something about defeating Palin, it might be difficult to have “the electoral portion of the communication being unmistakable, unambiguous, and suggestive of only one meaning”.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 5:09 PM

Let it go jimmy.
You are advocating a position that is indefensible. The proximity alone, the relationship as a campaign producer of material for the opposition, the obvious attempt at destroying a candidates image, and more…you tire me out with your foolish posts. You know what the attempt was, and so will any reasonable mind…but not a mind that is made up to defend.
bye-bye, let me know when you get your law degree…

right2bright on September 22, 2008 at 5:47 PM

I have two law degrees. The first one was with honors from a Top Ten school almost thirty years ago. The second is in tax law.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 5:55 PM

Jim, if it was proven that the Winners posted these known falsehoods, would they be vulnerable to a libel suit?

justincase on September 22, 2008 at 7:53 PM

Justin, for public figures, they would have to show that the Winners knew that the statement was false or acted in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 8:10 PM

Also Jim, this is off-topic but pertains to our discussion Friday. What did you mean when you said that the definitions didn’t have to be adhered to, in the agreement not to enforce IL’s abortion law?

Another question deals with PP v Farmer, where it was ruled that “birth” refers to the mother’s intention, not to the actual location of the child. That was a constitutional decision, right? If the judiciary has already defined “born” in a Constitutional sense and Congress gives a different definition, what happens if an abortion survivor is suffocated to death? If a criminal case was filed, could the defendant appeal on Constitutional grounds?

I don’t understand the relationship between Constitutional law and criminal law.

justincase on September 22, 2008 at 8:32 PM

That kind of gets to the SNL skit a little bit though, doesn’t it? We don’t *know* that Todd Palin didn’t commit incest with his daughters so if we claim it we can’t be accused of libel. Is that how the laws work?

These people would only have had to call the AIP to know that the claim was false. Is there some sort of reasonable diligence required, or can people make up lies wholesale without libeling anyone?

justincase on September 22, 2008 at 8:36 PM

Now it’s time for us to have some fun, and there actually seems to be something to follow here, unlike “Bush lied, people died.”

flutejpl on September 22, 2008 at 8:54 AM
Here’s my chant of late (in present tense):

The media lies, America dies.

electric-rascal on September 22, 2008 at 9:07 PM

Eh, I screwed up the blockquote tag:

Here’s my chant of late (in present tense):

The media lies, America dies.

electric-rascal on September 22, 2008 at 9:08 PM

Words matter.Obama the liar.

christene on September 22, 2008 at 10:02 PM

Wow… that’s a lot of reading that Rusty has generated. I pored through most of it and it tells a good story. However, it is far too complex for anyone in the MSM to take seriously. It will be buried, it won’t see the light of day. Obama is the teflon candidate.

The debates will make/break this election.

cannonball on September 23, 2008 at 1:05 AM

Michelle Malkin has an update to this story, with a response from Ethan Winner (scroll down…)

Buy Danish on September 23, 2008 at 9:06 AM

Justin, in the Illinois situation, the definitions can’t be read by themselves. The courts would have to look at other parts of the consent decree to see what sections of the original law were meant to be changed.

It looks like the Farmer decision applied to a New Jersey statute that was virtually identical to a Nebraska statute that the US Supreme Court struck down. I don’t think the Farmer decision would affect an Illinois statute or its interpretation unless the Illinois statute was virtually identical to the Nebraska statute.

Criminal laws are mostly created by legistlation (statutes) by states, although there are some federal criminal statutes. State constitutions “trump” state legislation and the US consitution “trumps” both state and US federal criminal statutes. In other words, the statute is struck down in whole or in part if it conflicts with the applicable constitution or constitutions. So, what’s that mean? Take a look at the D.C. gun case this summer that was decided by the US Supreme Court. In that case, the US Supreme Court sent back to a lower court the D.C. law prohibiting the private ownership of guns because the US Supreme Court decided that the D.C. law conflicted with the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Hope this helps a bit.

jim m on September 23, 2008 at 9:25 AM

Jim,

That was the general idea I had. Roe v Wade says that legal personhood cannot exist before birth. If the judiciary defines “birth” as the mother’s intent for the child to live, then wouldn’t the constitutional requirement for legal personhood be, at the very least, birth – that is, the mother’s intent?

BAIPA says that since Congress is supposed to count persons, it is up to them to define the word “person”, but it sounds like the SCOTUS in Roe gave a specific parameter within which Congress had to define it – specifically requiring the person to be “born” in order to be a legal person.

If the judiciary had already ruled that the Constitutional definiton of “born” referred to mother’s intent rather than location of the child (as they did in PP v Farmer BEFORE BAIPA passed), wouldn’t Congress be bound by that Constitutional definition of “birth”, which is a prerequisite for legal personhood as per Roe?

justincase on September 23, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Also one other thing, reading the Federal BAIPA, they actually used Illinois’ definition of “person”, which had no requirement for viability. How, then, can Illinois refuse to prosecute the neglect of pre-viable children (for instance, not providing comfort care, throwing them in the laundry, etc)? How is that any different than refusing to prosecute crimes against Blacks in former years?

I just can’t understand how that agreement not to prosecute can in any way be legal – Constitutionally speaking. I wonder if it’s ever been challenged on Constitutional grounds.

Barack Obama says the IL BAIPA would have been unconstitutional because it would give legal personhood to pre-viable children (the same argument NARAL had until the Federal BAIPA excluded any impact on abortion “rights”) – but IL law already does that, correct? Is Obama saying that IL law is unconstitutional because it undermines Roe?

justincase on September 23, 2008 at 10:48 AM

I have two law degrees. The first one was with honors from a Top Ten school almost thirty years ago. The second is in tax law.

jim m on September 22, 2008 at 5:55 PM

Yeah, sure…you didn’t know what the word advocate meant.
Must have been to taxing…

right2bright on September 23, 2008 at 10:53 AM

Okay, just one other question. (Thanks for being so patient with me. =)

When is neglect, abuse, or murder a FEDERAL crime – under the jurisdiction of FEDERAL investigators not bound to the Herbst-O’Malley Agreement?

justincase on September 23, 2008 at 11:11 AM

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