A quick reminder for those candidates considering buying an “advertisement” in Terry Lowry’s Link Letter: check the rates he charges you versus the rates he charges other candidates. I’ve written about it before but here is the law:
(b) The rate charged for political advertising that is printed or published may not exceed the lowest charge made for comparable use of the space for any other purposes.
I urge you to check because Lowry previously had a complaint lodged against him about this – and he agreed to a small fine.
III. Facts Supported by Credible Evidence
Credible evidence available to the commission supports the following findings of fact:
1. The respondent is the owner and publisher of “The Link Letter,” a newsletter. The complaint alleged that the respondent sold political advertising at rates exceeding the lowest charge made for comparable use of the space. At issue in the complaint is the respondent’s February 2010 newsletter.
2. The complaint included copies of the advertisements at issue, as well as an advertisement price list. The price list identified the names of each candidate or officeholder who purchased advertisement space in the respondent’s newsletter, the amount each person paid, and the size of each advertisement. A candidate for probate court judge was charged $10,000 for two full page advertisements. The entries for two candidates for county judge and state representative indicated that each candidate received the same amount of advertisement space (one page). However, one candidate was charged $5,000 while the other candidate was charged $10,000.
The respondent acknowledges that the rate charged for political advertising that is printed or published may not exceed the lowest charge made for comparable use of the space for any other purposes. The respondent agrees to comply with this requirement of the law.
After considering the violations described under Sections III and IV, including the nature, circumstances, and consequences of the violations, and after considering the sanction necessary to deter future violations, the commission imposes a $500 civil penalty.
I know, I know, I’m always picking on the little fella. But in this case, I’m not picking on him, I’m providing a public service!
So check those rates because, well, a $500 penalty for a business that nets between $250,000 – $300,000 for a single primary isn’t much of a deterrent, now is it?