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Comments by YACCS
Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sloppy and stupid

Riley and Logic 101
by: Brian

On September 5, 2006, Jim Riley posted an entry entitled “Raising Kaine PAC in violation of Federal Election law” on his blog, the Virginia Virtucon.

Mr. Riley did not suggest, inquire, or opine about a violation, rather he affirmatively stated that Raising Kaine was in violation of federal law.

Mr. Riley has been rumored to be an attorney and certainly holds himself out as such. A quick inquiry, however, can only definitively show that he is a lobbyist for National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association.

Assuming he is an attorney, as he claims to be, one would assume he has some familiarity with federal law. And being a lobbyist, one would assume he has an understanding of federal election law. Those assumptions, however, have been called into question by the referenced post.

The post starts out with the assertion that “[i]t is very clear according to the Federal Election Commission Act what types of funds may be used in federal races.” Mr. Riley’s obvious lack of understanding is evident by this statement because the “Federal Election Commission Act” does not exist. For purposes of this analysis, it will be assumed that Mr. Riley was referring to the Federal Elections Campaign Act, commonly known as FECA.

Mr. Riley’s next claim is that “[i]f a PAC is to make a contribution to or make an expenditure on behalf of a federal candidate, it must be a federally registered PAC[.]” Again, this statement is incorrect. To the contrary, a state committee can donate to or spend on behalf of a federal candidate up to $1,000.00. 11 C.F.R. §§ 100.5(a) and 100.111(a) (2006).

Whether or not the candidate is required to report the expenditure requires an analysis to the degree the committee and candidate coordinated. Mr. Riley does not aver any coordination between Raising Kaine and Jim Webb, therefore, that issue will not be addressed. Further, it is a moot point since a committee - coordinating with a candidate or not - may still donate to or expend on behalf of a federal candidate up to $1,000.00. Id. See also Coordinated Communications.

Mr. Riley further states that even though Raising Kaine is exempt as an internet communication, it is “engaging in other activities on behalf of the Webb campaign that do not fall under that sole exemption.” Note that Mr. Riley does not present any evidence or specific allegations of these mysterious “other activities” that Raising Kaine is supposedly “engaging in[.]” The reason for that is simple. Raising Kaine has not done anything “on behalf of the Webb campaign[.]”

Mr. Riley then quotes and cites, via hyperlink, 11 C.F.R. § 100.16 (c), which defines an independent expenditure. Mr. Riley, based on this authority, claims that “what Raising Kaine PAC is doing” is not an independent expenditure under federal law. This averment, however, is irrelevant as the committee has never made an expenditure in behalf of Jim Webb.

The initial flaw in Mr. Riley’s defamatory post is that the committee must first make an expenditure before any analysis as to limits and reporting of such expenditures are applicable. As stated above, Raising Kaine has never donated a penny to Jim Webb, nor has it spent any funds in Webb’s behalf. Any accusation to the contrary is without merit and false.

The secondary defect in Mr. Riley’s defamatory statement is that a Virginia committee cannot donate to or spend any funds in behalf of a federal candidate. To the contrary, any state committee, including one only registered in Virginia, can donate directly to or spend in behalf of a federal candidate up to $1,000.00 per calendar year. Although Raising Kaine has not exercised this right yet, the option to do so remains available to the committee.

Raising Kaine, therefore, is not in violation of federal election law despite Mr. Riley’s frivolous accusations. We eagerly await an apology from him.

The red bold words are usually what lawyers say when they're considering a libel suit. I'd take that real serious like myself. Because when you accuse someone of a crime. Proof is essential

posted by Steve @ 10:01:00 AM

10:01:00 AM

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