Most campaign finance laws are, in the words of Douglas Adams, a load of dingo's kidneys. But at least for now they are what they are, every candidate knows or should know what they are, and everybody needs to play by the same rules.
It's been suggested to me several times that Scott McInnis probably has similar violations (and perhaps more in quantity since he had more donors) than those violations which cost Dan Maes' campaign $17,500 in penalties (which, by the way, is an insane amount for essentially irrelevant errors.)
The Constitutionalist Today has reached the same conclusion and has actually done some homework which they lay out in an article entitled "Scott McInnis…In All Fairness."
The reporter notes that Scott McInnis had 35 of the same type of reporting error for which 9 instances cost Maes a chunk of change. She continues:
There are other problems with the report for June. The McInnis campaign had one contribution (from San Francisco) of $2,000, one for $1,500, two for $1,100, and one for $1,107. Legally a single person can only contribute $1,050. These are not simple reporting mistakes, these are real violations and should be thoroughly researched. Remember this is only the report for June and there are four more…wonder what’s in those?
Again, I think most campaign finance laws are an infringement on free speech (although I do support rapid disclosure of contributions, especially individually or in-the-aggregate large contributions). But we can't have these rules enforced against only one candidate. If Scott McInnis wins the primary, somebody (with a lot more free time than I have) should indeed consider following up on these questions with the Secretary of State.
One potential benefit from all this: Just as I thought the judges were stretching the law in ruling against gay marriage bans in Massachusetts in California, I saw a silver lining in that it might remind people of the danger of having government involved in peoples' personal lives. Similarly, maybe with another politician getting hit with ridiculously large fines, we can persuade the legislature to cap penalties for reporting violations, perhaps so that no violation can cost more than 150% or 200% of the contribution amount it was associated with.
To be clear, my write-up of the story of Dan Maes' violations was not about bashing Maes just for the hell of it or to support campaign finance laws. Rather it was an issue of Maes' competence, which I think is fairly in question in a broader sense. But once that's been used against one candidate, I think it would be dishonest for those who blogged about it not to ask or report the same sort of potential problem with Maes' opponent, as if Scott McInnis needs any more reasons for people to turn away from him.
Again, I urge my Republican friends not to vote in this primary.
Dan Maes in unqualified and Scott McInnis is disqualified.
(By the way, the Denver Post reported that Scott McInnis has reached a settlement agreement with the Hasan Family. Don't you just love the image of a sitting governor on an installment plan to pay back a charitable organization he essentially defrauded? No thanks.)
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