When does a television network endorsing a candidate go over the line? According to the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), Fox News stepped over that line in late August when John Kasich, Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate, asked for contributions to his campaign. During his interview, the network showed the link to the candidate’s website below his name (see the video here).
The DGA filed a complaint on September 2 with the Ohio Elections Commission, alleging that Fox made a contribution in the name of an unincorporated business (Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3517.10(I)(5)) and did not identify the source of the political communication (3517.20(A)(2) and (B)(1)).
In laymen’s terms, Democrats are angry that Kasich received free political advertising on a TV network. Their complaint raises an interesting point: What counts as free political advertising? According to the DGA’s complaint, the link Fox provided of Kasich’s website makes the 1 minute and 30 seconds Kasich was on The O’Reilly Factor a political ad. Giving it the title of a political ad attaches certain responsibilities, including a prohibition on “donating” free political advertising, and adding a “paid for by” disclaimer. [Read more…] about Express Advocacy and the 24-Hour Media