Last updated on 2012.12.12
I receive the following curious e-mail from someone claiming to represent "Veterans Against Unethical Politicians," the name used by whoever put out the September 17 robocall attacking Senator Tim Rave (R-25/Baltic). "Veterans Against Unethical Politicians" is named as one of the still-unknown defendants in Dan Lederman's Rushmore PAC lawsuit against those who would speak ill of powerful Republicans.
VAUP continues to conceal its true identity, thus still qualifying them as "cowards" in Governor Dennis Daugaard's book. I still don't like anonymous comments, but assuming the e-mailer is indeed preparing to fight his/her/their case in court, let's look at the legal arguments VAUP offers to Dan Lederman's litigation:
It has come to our attention that there have been some recent concerns expressed about legislative voting record information that was communicated via automated communication system to citizens in South Dakota.
This correspondence is a good faith gesture to clear up some possible misunderstandings and misconceptions regarding the calls that were placed in reference to Brian Gosch, David Lust, Tim Rave, and Russell Olson on September 7, 2012 and September 17, 2012
First of all, the calls were merely intended to be an expression of the editorial opinion of a several veterans who happen to strongly disagree with the recorded votes on Senate Bill 188 (2011) by the above-mentioned individuals. As such, we believe this communication is exempt from the provisions of 12-27-16 Sections 1 through 7.
Secondly, the automated communication system that was used did not expressly advocate that voters cast a ballot for or against any of the individuals named in the editorial opinion that was shared. Therefore, according to the opinion of legal counsel, the calls in question cannot rightly be considered "electioneering" under South Dakota codified law 12-27-1.
Thirdly, the above-mentioned editorial opinions were aired by an automated communication system that is not owned or controlled by any candidate, political action committee, or political party.
Lastly, a single veteran (who is not a current office holder or candidate for political office) paid for the editorial opinions that were expressed via the automated communication system, and total expenditures for the automated communications came to exactly $292.94. Therefore the expenditures are exempt from the reporting requirements listed in 12-27-4.
In closing, we would like to also highlight the fact that one or more of the individuals and groups who are parties to proposed legal actions regarding this matter do not appear to be residents of one or more of the counties in which the above-mentioned communication was distributed. As such, we question what legal standing (if any) they may have in regard to this matter.
It is our sincere hope that this correspondence helps to clarify our position and acts as a rebuttal to the vitriol and misinformation that is being propagated by overly sensitive members of the political establishment in the state of South Dakota.
Veterans Against Unethical Politicians [e-mail, September 22, 2012]
I welcome the legal analysis of my studious readers. Hit the law books, folks!
Update 09:35 MDT: By the way, does the veteran who purportedly paid for the robocall accusing State Senator Rave of unethical behavior against veterans have another $292.94 to run a call against Senator John Thune? Our junior Senator joined a majority of Republican colleagues in voting to block the Veterans Job Corps Bill, a bill on which Democrats compromised by adding several Republican proposals to ensure that a billions dollars would have been spent well to put thousands of veterans to work as cops, emergency responders, and parks officials.