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Another petard does its thing (local edition)

As I noted in a previous post, the Democratic down ticket didn't do too well in these parts. One of our new Republican legislators is John Scott. John's campaign consisted mainly of distortions of his opponent's record. On the issues, he mainly confined himself to a fierce and unaccommodating dedication to the interests of insurance agents everywhere, but especially those in Groton.

John actually was a Democrat for awhile, but he switched back to the Republican Party after concluding that the health care law posed a mortal threat to his core constituency of insurance agents.

Anyway, shortly before the election John's insurance agency (Did I mention he was an insurance agent?) began running half page ads in the New London Day, prominently featuring: guess who. By some massive coincidence, which I'm sure John will be able to explain, the ads featured the very same photo of John that was featured in the taxpayer funded ads (John took public financing) that were annoyingly affixed to the front page of our newspaper on many a morning.

The Groton Democratic Town Committee filed a complaint with the State Election Enforcement Commission, pointing out that these ads, while superficially for an insurance agency, were pretty much all about John and could, by any rational individual, be perceived as both a violation of the campaign finance laws by John (for accepting donations outside the public financing system) and by his agency, since corporate donations are not permitted to state financed campaigns. We even sent a press release to the Day, but in the press of time leading up to the election they apparently were unable to follow up on the story, inasmuch as they were too busy endorsing John's characterizations of his opponent without bothering to see if they were true or to put them in context. At least, that must be the reason. Far be it from me to suggest that they didn't want to stop the flow of that ad money.

Okay, you say, this sounds bad, but when is someone's petard going to start hoisting?

I'm coming to that.

The SEEC just announced that it is going to look into the charges, meaning it has found at least some cause to believe that John was doing what everyone knew he was doing. This is an exclusive, by the way, as you still won't have read it in the Day.

Well, what's a guy to do? You don't really want to get slapped down by the SEEC before you've been sworn in and begun protecting insurance agents everywhere. Well, what John has chosen to do (judging by the last few issues of the Day) is start running half page ads again, to the delight of the Day, I'm sure, but probably not to John's delight, because half page ads can be expensive, and he really doesn't need them anymore, having won the election already. So John is hoisted, not high, but hey, we must take what satisfaction we can.

John's strategy may work. The lawyer in me says that the only relevant evidence should be his advertising practices before the election, but election laws in this country are rarely enforced, except those designed to prevent differently hued people from voting. So we'll see. Who knows, if they actually sanction John, the Day might get around to mentioning it.

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