Wednesday, September 26, 2007

RUDY'S ILLEGAL DISCOUNT


FEC complaint alleges Rudy got 'soft money' from NYT (Rawstory.com)
Nick JulianoPublished: Tuesday September 25, 2007

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Update: Audio of Giuliani contradicts campaign's denial of inappropriate discount
Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign effectively received an illegal "soft money" contribution of more than $77,000 from the New York Times when he purchased a newspaper advertisement for a discounted rate, alleges a liberal blogger in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission.
The formal FEC complaint from blogger Lane Hudson alleges Giuliani received a "corporate soft money contribution in excess" of campaign finance limits. It is the latest fallout from MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad, which ran in the New York Times Sept. 10.
Hudson's salvo against one of the ad's harshest critics came a day after the Times finally acknowledged it had charged MoveOn a discounted rate for the ad, in violation of the paper's policies.

The ad ran on the first day of Gen. David Petraeus's congressional testimony.
Four days later, Giuliani took out his own ad in the Times attacking MoveOn and attempting to link the liberal anti-war group with prominent Democrats. The former New York mayor demanded the same rate the Times charged MoveOn, $64,575.

Since the pricing discrepancy was revealed Sunday, MoveOn has said it will wire the Times the difference between the rate it was charged, which is meant for ads that can run on any day anywhere in the paper, and the $142,083 the group should have paid to guarantee its full-page ad would run that Monday. Giuliani's campaign has refused to make up the difference, in violation of federal law, Hudson alleges.

"According to the New York Times' own policy, Mr. Giuliani should have paid the fixed-date rate instead of the standby rate," Hudson writes in his FEC complaint. "Therefore, the difference, $77,083 is an in-kind corporate contribution, which far exceeds the limits allowed by law."
Giuliani's campaign did not immediately return RAW STORY's call requesting comment. But a camaign spokesperson told the Washington Post that Giuliani would not be giving the Times any more money because the campaign did not specify on which day it wanted the ad to run.

An audio clip of Giuliani talking to reporters on the day before his ad appeared contradicts that claim.
"I call upon the New York Times to give us the same rate ... tomorrow to print an ad that will obviously take the oposite view," Giuliani says in the recording from Sept. 13.
FEC regulations allow anyone to file a complaint, which the commission evaluates to determine whether a full investigation is warranted. Giuliani has 15 days to respond to the complaint, but any action or investigation by the FEC remains confidential until a case is resolved.

Hudson's complaint, filed Monday, is the second he has filed this year against a Republican candidate. In August, he filed a complaint against Fred Thompson, who formally announced his presidential bid this month. Hudson said the actor improperly raised and spent money beyond the "testing the waters" threshold that governs presidential exploratory committees.
The complaints were fist posted on Hudson's blog News For The Left. Hudson was the first blogger to publish e-mails between Former Rep. Mark Foley and underage congressional pages; his role in exposing the Foley controversy got him fired from the Human Rights Campaign.

The MoveOn ad became a focal point for Republicans in the hours and days after it ran, giving GOP lawmakers ammo to attack Democrats rather than question Petraeus and leading to a symbolic Senate resolution condemning its message. The American Conservative Union filed its own FEC complaint over the ad Sept. 14.

It remains unclear whether the FEC will take action against MoveOn, which now has fully paid its bill, or Giuliani's campaign, which has not.
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