Headline: Lange has raised $120,000 toward new Braley challenge
That's the headline from the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
First line of the story: Republican Ben Lange is reporting that he’s raised $120,000 for a rematch with Democratic 1st District Rep. Bruce Braley.
Sounds great right? Rah-rah stuff right?
The Gazette, The Iowa Republican, KCRG simply took Lange's claim at face value. They failed to ask the who, what, where, when, why questions. Journalism 101. Ben Lange said he raised $120,000, he's not even an officially declared candidate and the news publications basically said, Duh, gee, OK, we'll print what you said.....
Below is the who, what, where, when, and why the media failed to address. Republicans in Iowa's First Congressional District should be concerned.
Folks should know that Lange is skirting FEC rules. A news publication that cares about the truth would check it out and not just post Wow, look at Ben Lange, he raised $120,000! They didn't even ask where the contributions came from. They didn't ask for proof Lange actually has that kind of money, for all we know it's sheer propaganda. How is that a service to you?
Mr. Lange’s conduct in this matter should be questioned, not congratulated and promoted. Lange has violated rules and regulations set forth by the FEC and that should be put out for public review. No one, but no one is above the law, not even a lawyer from Independence named Ben Lange.
This isn’t some witch hunt, it isn't personal on my part. It’s about the law, right vs. wrong and making sure we have top quality candidates running for office. I can't stress that enough! We don't 'protect' Ben or look the other way just because he has a 'R' next to his name.
I have personally communicated with The Federal Election Commission on several occasions asking questions and discussing this matter in depth prior to making any statements or writing any articles about it. I wanted to be absolutely sure I was correct before I put anything out there in the public eye. That's how I operate. My concerns are valid. But don't take my word for it, do your own homework folks, here's a link http://www.fec.gov/pdf/candgui.pdf to the FEC Rules and Regulations along with a brief tutorial (below) to illustrate my point. And hey pick up the phone, here’s the toll free telephone number for the FEC: 800-424-9530. Call them and learn for yourself. Don't take my word for it, take theirs. Once you’ve dialed, follow the prompt by pressing 6 for the ‘Information Division’.
I find it unfortunate that the media has chosen to give Ben Lange a pass.
So... in checking out the FEC rules & regs:
Please click on the link provided above and scroll to page 1, entitled; “Testing the Waters.”
Then go directly to the right side of the page and read Sec 1. Entitled; “Testing the waters vs. campaigning.”
Now read the paragraph entitled, “Campaigning”.
To simplify things even further, here’s exactly what it says...
“Certain activities, however, indicate that the individual has decided to become a candidate and is no longer testing the waters. In that case, once the individual has raised or spent more than $5,000, he or she must register as a candidate. Note that, when an individual decides to run for office, funds that were raised and spent to test the waters apply to the $5,000 threshold.
Campaigning (as opposed to testing the waters) is apparent, for example, when individuals:
• Make or authorize statements that refer to themselves as candidates (“Smith in 2012” or “Smith for Senate”);
• Use general public political advertising to publicize their intention to campaign;
• Raise more money than what is reasonably needed to test the waters or amass funds (seed money) to be used after candidacy is established;
• Conduct activities over a protracted period of time or shortly before the election; or
• Take action to qualify for the ballot.” (In other words you cannot seek out petition signatures)
100.72(b) and 100.131(b).
Lange has made statements or authorized statements referring to himself as a candidate. Unless you have officially registered yourself as a candidate with the FEC, that's a no-no.
Lange has raised more money, a lot more, than what is reasonably needed to 'test the waters'. That's a no-no.
Lange put nomination petitions out in all 20 counties throughout Iowa's First District on Caucus night, without being an officially declared candidate with the FEC. That's a no-no.
Lange had campaign volunteers carry out the above task, unless you're an officially registered candidate, which Ben isn't, that's a no-no.
Most likely, the petitions people signed on Caucus night to put Ben's name on the primary ballot are no good. Lange wasted Republicans' time and effort. The petitions most likely will have to be done all over again.
These aren't innocent mistakes folks. Lange is blowing off the rules. He's an experienced Congressional candidate, he's been there, done that and for crying out loud he's a lawyer. HE'S SUPPOSED TO KNOW THE RULES AND MAINTAIN THEIR INTEGRITY. He also violated FEC rules in 2010. There's a pattern of behavior here folks. It's a problem for Republicans hoping to win another seat in Congress.
Shame on the media outlets that failed to ask the who, what, where, when, and why questions before running with a story. Shame on the media outlets that just took what a guy said, at face value.
And where is the Republican State Central Committee on this? They can no longer remain silent.
Related Story: http://coralvillecourier.typepad.com/community/2012/01/a-filing-deadline-has-passed-are-congressional-candidates-rod-blum-and-ben-lange-violating-the-law.html