Washington D.C. —
However, the commission explained the case was different than Mullin’s and his [Mullin] appearance in the commercials and statement, “Hi, I am Markwayne Mullin” clearly identifies a candidate.
Commissioner Donald McGahn explained that Torchinsky’s request included proof the candidate looks in the camera and states his name, which falls squarely within the act. Additionally, the advertisements and radio show are tied a significant number of voters, which as an issue specifically addressed in the current law.
“Statue says what it says and this request comes in reach of that,” McGahn said.
The question surrounds the original purpose of the law and what was the legislative intent of Congress in passing this law.
Torchinsky asked the Commission to issue an exception based on precedent.
“If we had just run the ad and been here for on an enforcement action then it sounds like we would have had a three-three split,” Torchinsky said.
“He continued to explain that instead we have put the candidate and the company through six to eight months of uncertainty.”
The Commission rules should not apply to bona fide commercial advertisements, he said.
Torchinsky continued to explain that these requirements serve no government interest.
“All that is true almost, I am not sure we can say it serves no government purpose,” McGahn said.
This issue had previously been brought before the Supreme Court with “Citizens United vs. the FEC”. The court ruled the Citizens United ads were electioneering communications.
The Commission continued to listen to Mullin’s case and asked for clarification of the actually request being made.
“Are you looking for clarification of what the disclaimer will be,” McGahn said, “or are you wanting to avoid that all together.”
“In my ideal world I would love for the Commission to say in this context there is an exception and no electioneering communication,” Torchinsky said.