While I’ve been taking a long weekend (and taking advantage of the nice weather to get some woodworking done in the garage), Jerid has been filing a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission against the Bill Brownson for Council committee. Bill Brownson is running for Columbus City Council. See the details at BSB.
It’s my opinion that Mr. Brownson’s committee has violated ?3517.10 and ?3517.20 of the Ohio Revised Code. These statutes work towards transparency in the process by requiring all candidates to formally state their candidacy with declaration of treasurer before they begin operating as candidates, and require conspicuous disclaimers on all campaign materials. Laws like these are immensely important as we enter an age of internet communications where special interests and third parties can independently fund online media for or against candidates easily. Voters deserve candidates that campaign in the open, with full disclaimers on their materials. When candidates, such as in my opinion Bill Brownson’s committee, circumvent these electoral laws they undermine the very transparency we’ve sought to interject into our electoral process since the Nixon years.
Brownson’s response (from the Dispatch’s blog):
“What does some blogger from Cleveland care about a council race in Columbus?” said Brownson, who added that his campaign is reviewing the complaint. “They must really be worried.”
He dismissed the complaint as “the kind of crap” that has soured many toward politics.
Jerid is quite the industrious young man. And I agree with him – the rules exist for a reason, and it’s important to follow them. I like to say, “never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence”, but Brownson’s response is entirely too dismissive for my tastes. If it was an accidental oversight, admit so and then fix the problem, and pay closer attention in the future. Brownson’s attitude is not very encouraging on either of those points.