Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thompson Hits Airwaves With New Commercial, First Independent Expenditure This Year

"Business Leaders Of Oklahoma" are the sponsors of this new commercial for 5th District congressional candidate Mike Thompson. It appears to be the first independent expenditure this year and no sooner had the commercial aired, questions began being asked about its legality.

The group appears to be a "527" committee that is not required to register with the Federal Election Commission. So-called 527 committees—nicknamed for the section of the tax code under which they receive a tax exemption—can spend money in support of specific issues but not for the election of particular candidates. Some have been fined, forced to open their books or left to dissolve after months of battling state officials.

Take the Club for Growth, for example. The popular free-market political group—a top earner among 527s with $2.6 million raised so far this year—is being sued by the Federal Election Commission for failing to register as a political committee with the agency while spending money to influence congressional races.

Other 527 groups have found themselves in similar hot water with local officials because those in charge either sidestepped or misunderstood strict state campaign finance laws. Some alleged infractions include illegally contributing corporate money to state races, supporting a candidate rather than advocating an issue, forgetting to register with the state along with the IRS, and failing to disclose financial donors to the appropriate authorities.

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