* Federal elections have had non-coordination rules for years. Candidates get around these rules sometimes by posting tracker videos on YouTube or pics on Facebook, among other things. The idea is that it’s not their “fault” if some independent expenditure PAC watches the videos or comes across a photo. They can’t control what some random person does with their stuff.
In Illinois, doing such a thing might not bring a penalty from the Illinois State Board of elections. However, it can still get you in trouble if you happen to work for the Illinois State Police…
State Trooper BRYCE BENTON of Springfield, who lost the 50th Senate District GOP primary on March 15 to state Sen. SAM McCANN, R-Plainview, was given a one-day suspension without pay because pictures of him in uniform were used in campaign materials.
Benton benefited from more than $3 million in “independent expenditure” advertising from a group called Liberty Principles Political Action Committee, and some TV ads from the group featured Benton in uniform. […]
“As part of my campaign,” [Benton] added, “my staff asked me to submit as many pictures as possible for potential use in campaign materials. I gave the campaign a multitude of pictures, including pictures of me in uniform. I advised my staff that I believed we may be unable to use the pictures due to ISP directives, and to refrain from using them pending approval.
“At some point during the week of January 18, my campaign uploaded multiple pictures to my website, including pictures of me in uniform without my knowledge or consent. I was unaware that the pictures were in the public arena until the morning of January 22, when I saw them on television in a third-party ad,” he said. “My campaign staff learned of the use of the uniform pictures the morning of January 22 and removed the pictures from our campaign website early (that) afternoon.”
“At no time did we coordinate with the third-party group on the usage of the pictures in their commercial,” Benton wrote, “and have still had no interaction or discussions with the group.”
That’s probably true about specific coordination. But why even post the pictures to begin with? Benton knew that wasn’t allowed, and his staff surely did as well.
And, man, that suspension is gonna look downright horrible if Benton ever runs for a contested seat in the future. His own people may have ruined their guy. But he was probably disposable to begin with. Maybe now he realizes that.