An event sponsored by Chris Thieneman’s mayoral campaign has appeared on Facebook called Colts with Chris. The event promotes a chance for Thieneman supporters to attend an Indianapolis Colts playoff game with Thieneman.
Take a look:
The description reads:
Text “ColtswithChris” to 28553 for a chance for you and a guest to attend an Indianapolis Colts playoff game with Louisville’s next mayor, Chris Thieneman.
If you are a Republican in Jefferson County, KY, this is a great opportunity to enjoy some down time with Chris. A random supporter will be selected January 2, 2010.
Unfortunately, Thieneman hasn’t looked too closely at the Kentucky Revised Statutes to recognize that his promotion just may not pass the smell test.
Check out just how expensive normal Colts tickets are. Imagine what a playoff ticket is worth.
And we all know that anyone receiving money or an item of value from a candidate or campaign for the purposes of influencing a vote can be considered to have been bribed. Thieneman may not be bribing anybody, but let’s not pretend this isn’t a sticky situation that could be potentially troublesome for the candidate.
Take a look at KRS 119.205 (Warning: PDF Link not hosted by us):
119.205 Making or receiving expenditures for vote, for withholding of vote, or for signing a petition to have public question on ballot — Definition of “expenditure” — Procedures for paying for transportation of voters — Applicability of KRS 502.020.
(1) Any person who makes or offers to make an expenditure to any person, either to vote or withhold his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate or public question at an election shall be guilty of a Class D felony.
(2) Any person who solicits, accepts, or receives any such expenditure as payment or consideration for his vote, or the withholding of his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate or public question at an election shall be guilty of a Class D felony.
(4) For purposes of this section, “expenditure” means any of the following hone intended as payment or consideration for voting or withholding a vote, voting for or against any candidate or public question, or signing a petition to have a public question placed on the ballot:
(a) A payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit or gift of money or anything of value; or
(b) A contract, promise, or agreement, express or implied, whether or not legally enforceable, to make a payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value.
“Expenditure,” as used in this section, shall not include the distribution of materials bearing the name, likeness, or other identification of a candidate, political party, committee, or organization, or position on a public question and not intended as payment or consideration for voting or withholding a vote, voting for or against any candidate or public question, or signing a petition to have a public question placed on the ballot.
When it comes to campaign finance, the mere appearance of impropriety should be enough to push candidates to abide by the letter of the law. It’s just not a good idea to take a risk.