My inbox lights up with a campaign fundraising e-mail from fake Libertarian candidate for attorney general Chad Haber. Short form:
- Haber touts his wife's disastrous, money-gobbling, law-breaking Senate campaign as a reason to send him money.
- Haber shows his irrelevance to the GOED/NBP/EB-5 debate by treating as news the predictable excuses Northern Beef Packers lawyer Rory King gave to Bob Mercer back in December 2013 for Benda's diversion of Future Fund Grant #1434.
- Haber calls me (well, not personally, but the blogs and the press in general) lazy and afraid of the truth. (Lazy? Chad, remind who here has a job and who doesn't.)
The only part of Haber's pitch worth mentioning lies at the bottom. After Haber signs off with his beg line, the e-mail displays this footer:
Life and Liberty Group - 640 E. St. Patrick Street, PO Box 866, Rapid City, SD, 57709, United States
Life and Liberty Group... that's Gordon Howie's company!
I called Howie and asked what the presence of his company's name at the bottom of Haber's campaign e-mail means. According to Howie, Life and Liberty Group sent the campaign e-mail to addresses on its e-mail list at the request of someone promoting the Haber campaign, with a promise to pay Life and Liberty Group for that service. The e-mail does not say who is paying for it.* Howie did not name the client, but he says he is confident that Life and Liberty Group will receive payment for this service. The monetary value of that service will appear, of course, on Chad Haber's pre-general campaign finance report.
Howie said the Life and Liberty Group e-mail list is available for rent by almost anyone. Howie says his company has turned down some e-mails, but he is willing to do business with the Marty Jackley campaign and the Madville Times, not to mention far less shady characters.
Howie emphasized that the e-mail included and constitutes no endorsement of Haber by the Life and Liberty Group or by Howie's Independent Senate campaign. Howie says he does not plan to endorse any candidate in any race.
There have been prior inkles of collaboration between Haber and Howie. I asked Howie what relationship he has with Team Haber-Bosworth. "We are friends with a lot of people that frankly would amaze a lot of the public." Howie cites his own video series with me last spring as an example of his ability to build positive relationships with people of all sorts of worldviews (there's a campaign pitch in there somewhere).
Howie confirmed that his Senate campaign paid Haber-Bosworth's paid spokesman for some consultation and media production. However, Howie says that engagement was "terribly insignificant" and nowhere near the level of engagement between that spokesman and Bosworth and Haber. We will see that insignificant payment on Howie's Q3 FEC report.
Howie says his relationship with the Haber campaign is purely business, no different from the relationship demonstrated by the presence of ads from former Republican Senate candidate Stace Nelson and current Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers on this liberal blog.
Now let's just hope Howie doesn't have to take Haber to court to get paid.
Update 17:23 CDT: No "Paid for by..." statement? That seems odd. The Secretary of State says all candidates are supposed to "Display or clearly speak the statement: 'Paid for by (Name of political action committee)' on any printed material or communication. This disclaimer is not required on buttons, balloons, pins, pens, matchbooks, clothing, or similar small items upon which the inclusion of the statement would be impracticable." Does printed material include e-mail?
If this e-mail was arranged by an independent expenditure promising to pay $100 or more (and Gordon, you're nuts if you didn't charge that much), the source may want to review the following part of state campaign finance law, which does not distinguish between print, electronic, or other communications:
Any person or organization that makes a payment or promise of payment totaling one hundred dollars or more, including an in-kind contribution, for a communication which expressly advocates for or against a candidate, public office holder, ballot question, or political party shall append to or include in each communication a disclaimer that clearly and forthrightly:
- Identifies the person or organization making the independent expenditure for that communication;
- States the address or website address of the person or organization;
- States that the communication is independently funded and not made in consultation with any candidate, political party, or political committee; and
- If the independent expenditure is undertaken by an organization not including a candidate, public office holder, political party, or political committee, then the following notation must also be included: "Top Five Contributors" followed by a listing of the names of the five persons making the largest contributions to an organization during the twelve months preceding that communication [South Dakota Codified Law 12-27-16].