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Thursday, December 28, 2006 

Campaign Finance Laws Run Amok

From today's Examiner...
NASCAR driver is rebuked for Bush sticker

It's no secret that NASCAR drivers skew Republican, which is fine with the Federal Election Commission, just so long as they don’t display their preferences where anyone can see them.

In a decision announced Tuesday, the FEC sent an "admonishment letter" to Kirk Shelmerdine Racing. Kirk Shelmerdine, a former pit boss for the late Dale Earnhardt, has been an unsuccessful, underfunded and undersponsored driver. He has never finished higher than 26th.

So back in 2004, in a move perhaps designed to draw some attention to his car, he placed a "Bush-Cheney '04" decal on his rear quarter panel, which was otherwise unencumbered by advertising. Democratic activist Sydnor Thompson complained to the FEC, and the agency found that Shelmerdine "may have made an unreported independent expenditure or a prohibited corporate expenditure."

Former commissioner Bradley Smith dissented in one of the case's early votes and blogged about the result this week. He has written that in reference to the FEC's $250 expenditure limit, "evidence is strong that the market value of Shelmerdine's rear quarter panel was approximately $0, give or take $249."
Thank God that the full power of the federal government can halt dangerous activities such as these. First it's decals, then what? Full-sized bumper stickers? I shudder to think.

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