Sunday, June 11, 2017

Disclaimer issue in tight San Antonio run-off


The issue here was not that fliers must have a disclaimer; that's already been found unconstitutional in Doe v Texas. The claim is that the fliers falsely stated the name of the group that published them,
strong texas values.
 It took a turn toward nasty this week when a direct-mail hit piece against Nirenberg purported to be from a group that apparently does not exist, operating out of a P.O. box near the San Antonio airport.
The supposed source of the mailer, Strong Texas Values, is not registered with the City Clerk’s Office or the Texas Ethics Commission, according to local news reports. Falsifying the origin of an injurious political mailer is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. 
I think the statute either doesn't apply here, or runs into constitutional problems. But I don't know all the facts, aand I havent looked closely at the statute.
OK, here's more on the flier and the controvery:
They did not allow my comment:
"Your article suggests thaat fliers are required to state their author. But that statute was found unconstitution back in 2003. https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/1686198/doe-v-state/. Freedom of speech to say what you want in a political flier is one of our strong texas values. - Robbin Stewart."

Nirenberg defeats Taylor by large margin.

Sec. 255.004. TRUE SOURCE OF COMMUNICATION. (a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to injure a candidate or influence the result of an election, the person enters into a contract or other agreement to print, publish, or broadcast political advertising that purports to emanate from a source other than its true source.
(b) A person commits an offense if, with intent to injure a candidate or influence the result of an election, the person knowingly represents in a campaign communication that the communication emanates from a source other than its true source.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 899, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.
This comes a few sections later in the election code than the disclaimer statute struck down in Doe. I think this statute would have to be construed narrowly, or run into the constitutional problems of Doe.

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