Edwards’ ads reinstated after Slaughter complaint

Posted at 3:17 PM, Jun 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-01 17:17:25-04

(GREAT FALLS) Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards’ campaign ads are back online after they were called into question by one of his opponents.

On Thursday morning, a representative from the Jesse Slaughter campaign filed a complaint with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices.

The complaint stated the "Retain Sheriff Bob Edwards" campaign did not provide the Slaughter campaign final copies of negative ads within the "fair notice" period, which is the 10 days before a primary or general election.

State law says a campaign shall provide a final copy of any advertising which identifies or mentions the opposing candidate within ten days before the election. 

Jeff Mangan, the Commissioner of Political Practices, contacted both campaigns to work on resolving the issue.

Edwards says they did make an error and sent an email to Slaughter’s campaign with all of the required information.

Edwards said, "I received another e-mail this morning and apparently it did not go through so I just spent the last half hour sending it all to the Commissioner of Political Practices. I just received an e-mail saying that he got it and it is all good. We made an error, we corrected it, and we just moved on."

Slaughter says he did receive an e-mail from the Commissioner with a transcript of Edwards’ ad.

Slaughter posted a message on Facebook that reads, in part: "Election laws are put in place to protect the voice of the citizens of Montana. The recent complaint filed with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices was simply a request for the sitting Sheriff to adhere to Montana law."

The Commisioner’s office is currently investigating the complaint and are unable to comment on any ongoing investigations.

Here is the full text of the relevant portion of Montana code:

Fair Notice Period Before Election

13-35-402. Fair notice period before election. (1) A candidate or a political committee shall at the time specified in subsection (3) provide to candidates listed in subsection (2) any final copy of campaign advertising in print media, in printed material, or by broadcast media that is intended for public distribution in the 10 days prior to an election day unless:

(a) identical material was already published or broadcast; or

(b) the material does not identify or mention the opposing candidate.

(2) The material must be provided to all other candidates who have filed for the same office and who are individually identified or mentioned in the advertising, except candidates mentioned in the context of endorsements.

(3) Final copies of material described in subsection (1) must be provided to the candidates listed in subsection (2) at the following times:

(a) at the time the material is published or broadcast or disseminated to the public;

(b) if the material is disseminated by direct mail, on the date of the postmark; or

(c) if the material is prepared and disseminated by hand, on the day the material is first being made available to the general public.

(4) The copy of the material that must be provided to the candidates listed in subsection (2) must be provided by electronic mail, facsimile transmission, or hand delivery, with a copy provided by direct mail if the recipient does not have available either electronic mail or facsimile transmission. If the material is for broadcast media, the copy provided must be a written transcript of the broadcast.

Click here to read the complete complaint (PDF).

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