Washington D.C. — The Federal Election Commission requested an extension today to review 2nd District Congressional Candidate Markwayne Mullin’s request for an exception to federal electioneering laws.
The Commission could not determine if Mullin’s advertising with Mullin Plumbing qualified for an exception and if such an exception would be legal under current laws.
These laws such as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, were put into place by Congress to prevent a candidate from using a business to gain an unfair advantage like increased name recognition during a campaign.
Additionally, the use of corporate resources like advertising gives a candidate the opportunity to take advantage of tax shelters not available through political advertising, according to the BCRA.
A ruling should be made on May 29, as the 30-day window for electioneering communications will begin on May 27 for all District 2 candidates.
In the draft provided to the commission prior to today’s meeting the commissioners had agreed Mullin would be electioneering and therefore be required to meet disclosure requirements in the 30 days prior to the June 26 primary election.
“I am certainly sympathetic to the request,” Commissioner Matthew Peterson said. “Our hands are tied”.
Jason Torchinsky, attorney for Mullin objected to the draft opinion and that following the law would present a hardship for Mullin.
“It puts my client in a very awkward position,” Torchinsky said.
Torchinsky explained that the requirements would take 10 percent of a 30-second commercial to read the mandatory disclosures.
Peterson’s response to the objection was simple, “this would be good argument for court”.
“I don’t believe it is enough for us to carve out an exception,” Peterson said.
He questioned the impact granting this exception will have on future decisions and asked Torchinsky to “help me with the justification”.
Torchinsky continued to explain that Mullin’s commercials are similar to other cases including that of previous candidate Russ Darrow, a car dealership owner in Wisconsin.