Iowa candidate web videos need "paid for" attribution statements

Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board Executive Director Megan Tooker has determined that state law requiring “paid for by” attribution lines for political advertising also applies to videos posted on free websites such as YouTube. David Chung, a member of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee, had filed an ethics complaint against Brad Anderson, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state. (Chung is from Cedar Rapids, as is Anderson’s GOP opponent Paul Pate.) Anderson’s television commercial contains the standard attribution line, but some of his web videos did not. After the jump I’ve posted the relevant portion of Iowa Code.

Tooker informed Anderson that in her opinion, campaign videos available online should also include a “paid for” statement. Anderson’s campaign immediately altered the videos to comply. Jason Noble reported for the Des Moines Register, “So long as Anderson republishes the videos with appropriate attribution statements or publishes a corrective notice in the newspaper, he will not face a fine or penalty.”

Responding to my request for comment, the Anderson campaign noted, “Although state law is ambiguous related to requiring disclaimers on free YouTube videos, in the abundance of caution we have added disclaimers to all of our YouTube videos and will continue to moving forward.”

In a press release yesterday, Iowa GOP Co-Chairman Cody Hoefert thundered, “we now learn that Brad Anderson either ignored Iowa’s election laws or does not believe they apply to him. Either way, this only goes to underscore the fact that he is not someone Iowans can trust to uphold the integrity of their elections.” News flash for Hoefert: the Anderson campaign was able to point to many web videos that lacked “paid for” statements while promoting the Iowa GOP and/or Republican candidates and office-holders. For instance, Governor Terry Branstad’s campaign produced a video featuring Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds in order to drum up 2014 Iowa caucus attendance. In that video, she urged supporters to help elect Republicans up and down the ticket in 2014. Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has also promoted his candidacy through web videos without attribution statements. The Iowa GOP itself produced a video promoting State Auditor Mary Mosiman without any attribution statement.

Obviously, Chung and the Iowa GOP were only playing out a stunt to gain an edge for Pate in what looks like a close contest for secretary of state. Nevertheless, it’s useful for Tooker to clarify that this portion of state law applies to web videos as well as to television commercials.  

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New Secretary of State Schultz hires Jim Gibbons, Mary Mosiman for top jobs

Secretary of State-elect Matt Schultz has announced several important hires in the past week. Former Republican Congressional candidate Jim Gibbons will serve as Chief Deputy and Director of Business Services, while longtime Story County Auditor Mary Mosiman will run the Elections Division.

Follow me after the jump for background and analysis on those appointments.  

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Former legislator Struyk to advise Secretary of State Schultz

Incoming Secretary of State Matt Schultz announced today that former State Representative Doug Struyk will serve as his policy advisor and legal counsel. Schultz has been a Council Bluffs city councilman, while Struyk represented House district 99, containing the northeast part of that city, for four terms. He was first elected to the Iowa House as a Democrat but switched to the Republican side early on.

Before retiring from the legislature, Struyk was the top-ranking Republican on the Iowa House State Government Committee, which considers bills related to election law. In 2007, Struyk voted against HF 653, the bill enacting same-day voter registration in Iowa, as did every other House Republican. Click here for the bill history, including a long list of Republican-sponsored amendments to weaken that measure. Roll call votes on the amendments to HF 653 and the final bill are in this House Journal (pdf file).

More concerning, Struyk was one of only six state representatives to vote against SF 2347, the 2008 bill requiring all Iowa counties to use paper ballots and optical scanner machines. The House Journal for that day (see page 806 of this pdf file) doesn’t record any debate or proposed amendments to that bill, which passed 92 to 6. I couldn’t find any record explaining why Struyk opposed that bill.

Schultz made photo ID requirements for all voters the centerpiece of his campaign for secretary of state. I hope he won’t also try to roll back same-day registration or paper ballot requirements. Election-day registrants are already required to show photo ID and proof of address in Iowa. Anyone who claims to be worried about voter fraud should support the ban on paperless touchscreen voting machines.

UPDATE: In the comments, Bleeding Heartland user thomasjschultz says that Matt Schultz supports the paper ballot requirement. His campaign website included this statement on same-day registration:

The Legislature passed, the Governor signed into law, and the current Secretary of State supported Same-Day Voter Registration, which has created the potential for voter irregularities and fraud. As Secretary of State I will fight to reform Same-Day Voter Registration and require all ballots cast by voters registering on Election Day to be cast as Provisional Ballots. Requiring these ballots to be cast as Provisional Ballots will ensure that anyone attempting to cheat the system by fraudulently registering on Election Day will not be able to change the outcome of the vote.

Secretary of State Mauro reported in 2009 that nearly 46,000 Iowans used election-day registration in the November 2008 general election: 21,553 Iowans registered to vote for the first time on that election day, and 24,376 had previously been registered to vote in a different county. Current law already requires county auditors to follow up on election-day registrants: “If the county auditor is unable to locate a voter after sending two notices, the matter is reported to the county attorney and the Secretary of State.”

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