“Independent expenditure” means any expenditure supporting or opposing a candidate that is not made with the cooperation or with the prior consent of, or in consultation with, or in coordination with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, candidate’s agent or candidate’s committee.
Cooperation – Consent – Consultation – Coordination – Request – Suggestion
Any or all of the above are unlikely to ever be provable in any judicial setting unless there is a whistleblower or an email that went astray.
But we humans often make our determinations with circumstantial evidence. Even the courts use this type of evidence on occasion.
Former Council Member Karen Benker was attacked week in and week out during the 2009 election season. Vying to replace her was now-Council Member Katie Witt. Forum after forum raised the issue of Witt’s knowledge and complicity in these attacks. Witt resorted to playing Monkey in this Monkey Business: Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
Voters seldom look closely at campaign reports. But they should. They tell a lot about who, what, where, when, why and how.
So let’s play connect-the-dots. Longmont Leadership Committee (funded by Western Tradition Partnership) paid Advanced Direct Marketing Inc. (ADMI) $10,873.49 for several post card mailings attacking Benker and for a pretend newspaper “Longmont Leader” attacking Benker, Fissinger, McCoy and Lange and promoting Baum, Santos, Witt and Sammoury.
Guess who else used ADMI? Lo and behold, it was Ms. Witt! Add $2,006.60.
Citizens for a Brighter Future (funded by Coloradans for Economic Growth) also used ADMI $6,671.36 for three mailers, in support of Alex Sammoury and the other three.
So was there A WINK AND A NOD? Or was it more than that? The unprecedented dirty politics of the last campaign strongly suggest it was more. And without an independent quasi-judicial body composed of citizens from across the political spectrum, there will never be the transparency and accountability needed for truly clean campaigns.
The floodgates have been opened and the dirty water may never be dammed up again, Longmont. They’ll be back in 2011 and thereafter, unless and until the Longmont voters make it undeniably clear that they reject both outside influence and not-so-uncoordinated campaigns by attack groups.