Why the District 21 fliers are illegal

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Dirty politics As reported by Insider Louisville, a group calling itself “Concerned Beechmont Citizens” has sent out multiple Metro Council district 21 fliers, attacking one candidate (Nicole George) and supporting another (Vitalis Lanshima).

Most people who work in politics know all of the following already, but I thought I’d share for anyone who doesn’t know the rules.

  • Any group that spends any money to affect an election must register with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. This group is nowhere to be found on KREF’s database. Therefore, the District 21 fliers are illegal from the start.
  • A group that spends money to affect an election must do it without coordinating with the candidate. This is called an “independent expenditure.” All such expenditures must be reported to KREF. If the group does not report this expenditure, the expenditure is illegal again.
  • And, if the group actually coordinates with the candidate in any way (like, getting mailing addresses), that is also illegal.
  • There is no union bug on the District 21 fliers, so it was printed by a non-union shop. Ask the labor supporters of both candidates how they feel about that.
  • And finally, doing a little OSINT (open source intelligence), I figured out that the lady on the mailer is not from Beechmont. In fact, that is a stock image from Shutterstock, from an Italian photographer. The Shutterstock license clearly says that use of the image for print purposes will require payment. So, once again – illegal.
    • And, for what it’s worth, that same young lady is ALL OVER the web, including many posts on Pinterest, and on at least one book cover.

Whatever you may think of the two candidates in this race, I hope the folks of District 21 base their votes on the issues and the candidates, and not on multiple illegal mailings by an illegal group too ashamed of its actions to show its face.

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