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View Full Version : If you think a legal challenge against the blimp would be good - inside




ItsTime
12-30-2007, 08:20 PM
I posted this in another thread but things that should have been thought about before bragging about how the blimp crew thinks it would be good for a legal challenge.

1) Who would pay for your legal defense?
2) You can be challenged AFTER the election
3) What are, if any, the legal ramifications to those who bought time?

I am not trolling, these are serious questions and points that need to be addressed.

ItsTime
12-31-2007, 04:17 PM
bump anyone?

hueylong
12-31-2007, 04:18 PM
You're trolling. There are no legal consequences to those who bought time.

You're just trying to raise an irrelevant issue.

Go away.

Huey

John P Slevin
12-31-2007, 06:25 PM
I must agree with Huey.

To paraphrase the Kingfish: Every Blimper a King!

ItsTime
12-31-2007, 07:28 PM
Please quote source thank you.

And if true, which it may be, there are still two points left.


You're trolling. There are no legal consequences to those who bought time.

You're just trying to raise an irrelevant issue.

Go away.

Huey

alexpasch
12-31-2007, 11:43 PM
The people who bought time have no legal consequences. They purchased advertising from a company. If that company were engaging in illegal practices (and they aren't) it would be the company not the customers that would be liable.

dc74rp
01-01-2008, 12:17 AM
alexpasch,


The people who bought time have no legal consequences. They purchased advertising from a company. If that company were engaging in illegal practices (and they aren't) it would be the company not the customers that would be liable.

While I'm not a lawyer (so disclaimer: this is not legal advice, do not rely on it as such), this seems to agree with the information I've been able to find so far. I've done some looking into independent expenditures. Here's a post I made on the subject. I hope it helps people wondering about legal issues feel at least a little better informed:

http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?t=37238


Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer! This is not legal advice, as I am in no way qualified to give any legal advice. I've been told there's alot to it, and someone qualified to give legal advice should be consulted. In addition, this information does not refer to donations or contributions to an organization or candidate, only to independent expenditures.

That said, I found these on the FEC site:

http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/citizens.shtml#ie


Independent Expenditures

Independent expenditures provide yet another way to support Federal candidates. An independent expenditure is money spent for a communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified Federal candidate. It is "independent" only if the individual making the expenditure does not coordinate or consult in any way with the candidate or campaign (or agent of the candidate or campaign) benefiting from the communication. Independent expenditures are not considered contributions and are unlimited. You may spend any amount on each communication as long as the expenditure is truly independent.

You may, for example, pay for an advertisement in a newspaper or on the radio urging the public to vote for the candidate you want elected. Or you may produce and distribute posters or yard signs telling people not to vote for a candidate you oppose.

When making an independent expenditure, you must include a notice stating that you have paid for the communication and that it is not authorized by any candidate's committee. ("Paid for by John Doe and not authorized by any candidate's committee.") Additionally, once you spend more than $250 during a calendar year on independent expenditures with respect to a given election, you must file a report with the Federal Election Commission (either FEC Form 5 at http://www.fec.gov/pdf/forms/fecfrm5.pdf , or a signed statement containing the same information).

Because this brief explanation does not cover all you need to know about independent expenditures, contact the Commission for more information.



More on independent expenditures, I strongly recomend you check out the page:

http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/indexp.shtml#IE


Independent Expenditures

An independent expenditure is an expenditure for a communication “expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a candidate’s authorized committee, or their agents, or a political party or its agents.” 11 CFR 100.16(a).

Who May Make Independent Expenditures

Persons permitted to make contributions in connection with federal elections (such as individuals and political committees) may make independent expenditures. Persons prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in connection with federal elections (such as corporations, labor organizations and individuals or businesses with federal government contracts) are similarly prohibited from making independent expenditures. However, there is one exception to this rule.

Certain Nonprofit Corporations May Make Independent Expenditures


In addition, I looked up on Findlaw.com the case of BUCKLEY v. VALEO (1976), where it appears limits on individual expenditures were struck down. There have been many new laws and cases since then relating to campaign finance, so I can't say this is a definitive answer, but in my not legally qualified opinion this is good:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=424&invol=1

In addition, cases citing BUCKLEY v. VALEO can be found here:

Sureme Court:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/casesearch.pl?court=us&CiRestriction=424+u.s.+1&

Circuit Courts:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/casesearch.pl?court=circs&CiRestriction=%22424+U.S.+1%22&

Important information Exceprted from BUCKLEY v. VALEO (1976):


In upholding the constitutional validity of the Act's contribution and expenditure provisions on the ground [424 U.S. 1, 16] that those provisions should be viewed as regulating conduct, not speech, the Court of Appeals relied upon United States v. O'Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968). See 171 U.S. App. D.C., at 191, 519 F.2d, at 840. The O'Brien case involved a defendant's claim that the First Amendment prohibited his prosecution for burning his draft card because his act was "`symbolic speech'" engaged in as a "`demonstration against the war and against the draft.'" 391 U.S., at 376 . On the assumption that "the alleged communicative element in O'Brien's conduct [was] sufficient to bring into play the First Amendment," the Court sustained the conviction because it found "a sufficiently important governmental interest in regulating the non-speech element" that was "unrelated to the suppression of free expression" and that had an "incidental restriction on alleged First Amendment freedoms . . . no greater than [was] essential to the furtherance of that interest." Id., at 376-377. The Court expressly emphasized that O'Brien was not a case "where the alleged governmental interest in regulating conduct arises in some measure because the communication allegedly integral to the conduct is itself thought to be harmful." Id., at 382.

We cannot share the view that the present Act's contribution and expenditure limitations are comparable to the restrictions on conduct upheld in O'Brien. The expenditure of money simply cannot be equated with such conduct as destruction of a draft card. Some forms of communication made possible by the giving and spending of money involve speech alone, some involve conduct primarily, and some involve a combination of the two. Yet this Court has never suggested that the dependence of a communication on the expenditure of money operates itself to introduce a non speech element or to reduce the exacting scrutiny required by the First Amendment. See Bigelow v. Virginia, 421 U.S. 809 , [424 U.S. 1, 17] 820 (1975); New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, supra, at 266. For example, in Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 559 (1965), the Court contrasted picketing and parading with a newspaper comment and a telegram by a citizen to a public official. The parading and picketing activities were said to constitute conduct "intertwined with expression and association," whereas the newspaper comment and the telegram were described as a "pure form of expression" involving "free speech alone" rather than "expression mixed with particular conduct." Id., at 563-564.

Even if the categorization of the expenditure of money as conduct were accepted, the limitations challenged here would not meet the O'Brien test because the governmental interests advanced in support of the Act involve "suppressing communication." The interests served by the Act include restricting the voices of people and interest groups who have money to spend and reducing the overall scope of federal election campaigns. Although the Act does not focus on the ideas expressed by persons or groups subject to its regulations, it is aimed in part at equalizing the relative ability of all voters to affect electoral outcomes by placing a ceiling on expenditures for political expression by citizens and groups. Unlike O'Brien, where the Selective Service System's administrative interest in the preservation of draft cards was wholly unrelated to their use as a means of communication, it is beyond dispute that the interest in regulating the alleged "conduct" of giving or spending money "arises in some measure because the communication allegedly integral to the conduct is itself thought to be harmful." 391 U.S., at 382 .

Nor can the Act's contribution and expenditure limitations be sustained, as some of the parties suggest, by reference to the constitutional principles reflected in such [424 U.S. 1, 18] decisions as Cox v. Louisiana, supra; Adderley v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39 (1966); and Kovacs v. Cooper, 336 U.S. 77 (1949). Those cases stand for the proposition that the government may adopt reasonable time, place, and manner regulations, which do not discriminate among speakers or ideas, in order to further an important governmental interest unrelated to the restriction of communication. See Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville, 422 U.S. 205, 209 (1975). In contrast to O'Brien, where the method of expression was held to be subject to prohibition, Cox, Adderley, and Kovacs involved place or manner restrictions on legitimate modes of expression - picketing, parading, demonstrating, and using a soundtruck. The critical difference between this case and those time, place, and manner cases is that the present Act's contribution and expenditure limitations impose direct quantity restrictions on political communication and association by persons, groups, candidates, and political parties in addition to any reasonable time, place, and manner regulations otherwise imposed. 17 [424 U.S. 1, 19]

A restriction on the amount of money a person or group can spend on political communication during a campaign necessarily reduces the quantity of expression by restricting the number of issues discussed, the depth of their exploration, and the size of the audience reached. This is because virtually every means of communicating ideas in today's mass society requires the expenditure of money. The distribution of the humblest handbill or leaflet entails printing, paper, and circulation costs. Speeches and rallies generally necessitate hiring a hall and publicizing the event. The electorate's increasing dependence on television, radio, and other mass media for news and information has made these expensive modes of communication indispensable instruments of effective political speech.
The expenditure limitations contained in the Act represent substantial rather than merely theoretical restraints on the quantity and diversity of political speech. The $1,000 ceiling on spending "relative to a clearly identified candidate," 18 U.S.C. 608 (e) (1) (1970 ed., Supp. IV), would appear to exclude all citizens and groups except candidates, political parties, and the institutional press from any significant use of the most [424 U.S. 1, 20] effective modes of communication. Although the Act's limitations on expenditures by campaign organizations and political parties provide substantially greater room for discussion and debate, they would have required restrictions in the scope of a number of past congressional and Presidential campaigns and would operate to constrain campaigning by candidates who raise sums in excess of the spending ceiling.

By contrast with a limitation upon expenditures for political expression, a limitation upon the amount that any one person or group may contribute to a candidate or political committee entails only a marginal restriction upon the contributor's ability to engage in free communication. [424 U.S. 1, 21] A contribution serves as a general expression of support for the candidate and his views, but does not communicate the underlying basis for the support. The quantity of communication by the contributor does not increase perceptibly with the size of his contribution, since the expression rests solely on the undifferentiated, symbolic act of contributing. At most, the size of the contribution provides a very rough index of the intensity of the contributor's support for the candidate. A limitation on the amount of money a person may give to a candidate or campaign organization thus involves little direct restraint on his political communication, for it permits the symbolic expression of support evidenced by a contribution but does not in any way infringe the contributor's freedom to discuss candidates and issues. While contributions may result in political expression if spent by a candidate or an association to present views to the voters, the transformation of contributions into political debate involves speech by someone other than the contributor.


But I'm not a lawyer, so what do I know. You'll either need to research it yourself or consult a lawyer because I'm not qualified to give legal advice.

dc74rp
01-01-2008, 12:42 AM
Again, I'm not qualified to give legal advice, so don't take this as legal advice, but that said, let me repeat information from my previous post, with an important part highlighted in red this time:

http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/indexp.shtml#IE


An independent expenditure is an expenditure for a communication “expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a candidate’s authorized committee, or their agents, or a political party or its agents.” 11 CFR 100.16(a).

Now let me add, since it might be possible to interpret the Ron Paul Blimp as not "expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate", this could strengthen the legal position of the Blimp.

Wording that "expressly advocates" a candidate...... it would be things like: "Vote Ron Paul", "Ron Paul President 2008", "Support Ron Paul", ect....................... But the Blimp has the messages on it: "Who is Ron Paul?", "Google Ron Paul", and "Ron Paul Revolution".

http://www.ronpaulblimp.com/Message.php

The phrases chosen leave some ambiguity. I'd guess isponsoring the blimp qualifies as an "independent expenditure" and would be regulated as such, because of the "Ron Paul Revolution" phrase. But "Who is...." and "Google...." encourage people to find out about Ron Paul, without directly saying if people should support or oppose him. Once they find out about him, it's up to them to decide. In my unqualified opinion, this somewhat strengthens the Blimp's legal position, though I believe there is an opening for attempts to expand the definition of "expressly advocating". I'm not sure of all the case law that might affect this issue.

However, I would still follow all the regulation require of independent expenditure to avoid problems.

In my not legally qualified opinion, someone who is pro-life (or pro-choice for that matter) could pay for advertising that said simply "Ron Paul is Pro-Life" without it being an "independent expenditure". If the message were changed, say to either "Ron Paul is Pro-Life......Protect Choice" or "Ron Paul is Pro-Life........Support Life" then it becomes an "independent expenditure and falls under those regulations.

Actual text from Code of Federal Regulations defining the phrase "expressly advocating":

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/12feb20041500/edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2004/janqtr/pdf/11cfr100.22.pdf

11 C.F.R. § 100.22

§ 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—

VerDate jul<14>2003 19:27 Jan 17, 2004 Jkt 203033 PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 8010 Sfmt 8010 Y:\SGML\203033T.XXX 203033T

Federal Election Commission § 100.24

(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.

But again, I'm not a lawyer, so what do I know. You'll either need to research it yourself or consult a lawyer before you make up your mind because I'm not qualified to give legal advice.