by Max Brantley
Mary Mann, campaign manager for Jim Lagrone, Republican candidate for secretary of state, has filed an ethics complaint against Charlie Daniels because of what she says are linked radio ad purchases -- one by a generic get-out-the-vote group then followed by an ad for Daniels.
News release on the jump. Remember, the complaint is irrelevant. Nothing will happen until long after Tuesday is gone.
Daniels campaign responds:
It's really sad to see what people will do when their campaigns are faltering. This complaint is baseless, frivolous and hardly warrants this response.
They added that ARN can explain that ad arrangement, but we called too late to get somebody on the phone.
UPDATE: Stephens Media got Neal Gladner, however, and the KARN exec's explanation suggests the Lagrone campaign is -- once again -- full of it.
JIM LAGRONE NEWS RELEASE
On Friday, Oct. 27, 2006 at approximately 11:20 a.m. I heard a 30 second
votenaturally.org (HAVA) radio spot run on KFAY-AM radio in Fayetteville. It was immediately followed by a 30 second Charlie Daniels campaign spot. As an experienced campaign media buyer I knew that this specific station only sells radio spots in 60 second increments of time. No 30 second spots are available. I was immediately curious as to how a HAVA spot (non-political in nature) that touts the benefits by a disabled man of voting on the new electronic voting machines, could possibly run together with a campaign spot promoting the re-election of Charlie Daniels as Secretary of State.
I called my sales rep at that station and asked how those spots could run together. After investigating, she called back to say that "spot" was sent as a 60 second "package" from ARN radio in Little Rock. I then called a contact at ARN who investigated and called back to say he was told that it was a coincidence the spots ran together. This didn't make sense, as I knew that could not be the case and my sales rep said the spots were ordered together as a package.
I did find out that the spots were paid for separately. The HAVAvotenaturally.org spots were purchased by a media firm in Little Rock and Charlie Daniels' spots were paid for by a media firm in Georgia. At thatpoint, I let the issue drop because ARN kept insisting it was a "coincidence" and I had no proof otherwise. They also insisted that the Oct. 27th play was the only time those two spots ran together.
On Thursday, Nov. 2 at 3:30 p.m. I heard the same exact two spots run again on KFAY as one 60 second package. I called my sales rep again, who said she had a log order (see attached) that instructed these spots to always run together in a 60 second package. I called ARN again. My contact talked with the production manager at ARN, who told him the two 30 second spots were produced and sent to ARN as one 60 second spot and ordered to
always run together as one 60 second spot.
My complaint is that Charlie Daniels is using his position as Secretary of State, and his control over HAVA funds, to deliberately violate Statute 21-8-304 Sec. 3 and Statute 7-1-103. Sec 3. by using the votenaturally.org commercials - which are non-political and paid for with government HAVA funds - to positively influence voters in his favor.