(cross-posted at BLTB) As the mayoral race entered the final weeks, the Tribune ran an article about the race that contained a line that kind of ticked me off. The article was about RJ Haffner (an acquaintance of mine), who many of you know wrote, printed, and distributed the “Leader-less” newsletter that highlighted what he felt were reasons for not voting for the incumbent mayor. He cited several examples of what he deemed to be lack of leadership, political motives, and financial irregularities. The newspaper article briefly mentioned the legal implications of the brochure:
State election officials examined the newsletter this week to see if it might have violated law on election materials for not revealing the name of a treasurer.
So, someone felt that the Haffner was doing something illegal, eh? Hold on: Haffner did, in fact, comply with the law:
“…(he) filed a political committee report with the commissioner’s office. As it turned out, because he is the only member of the group called Citizens for a Better Great Falls, Haffner was not required to file the report, according to Dulcy L. Hubbert, program supervisor in the Commissioner of Political Practices office.
So in end, it was “no harm, no foul,” apparently. But wait – check out this one line in the article:
Another issue that could become tricky for political regulators might be Web logs, or blogs, on the Internet that are often anonymous.
Whoa there. I know there’s been plenty of discussion among much smarter people than me about this, but seeing it stated bluntly in my local paper, about an election in which I served as something of a conduit via my GreaterFalls.com site, definitely got my attention. All politics is local, and this issue just became local for me. Your thoughts?