- A Smith yard sign on Massachusetts Ave.
Complaints against D.C. congressional candidate Missy Smith's campaign ads mostly tend toward the "for the love of God stop broadcasting pictures of aborted fetuses on television" variety.
But yesterday, D.C. resident Elizabeth Kingsley filed a complaint with the FEC over some of Smith's more banal campaign materials. The claim: While Smith's fetus television ads include the legally-mandated disclaimer describing who paid for and authorized the message ("Paid for by Missy Reilly Smith for Congress"), Smith's published campaign ads contain no such notice.
In the complaint, Kingsly cites FEC regulations governing "Internet websites of political committees" and "general public political advertising" and concludes that "Ms. Smith's web site, her lawn signs, and her flyers should all include an appropriate disclaimer." Furthermore, Kingsly continues, "Ms. Smith has sufficient familiarity with the disclaimer requirements to include proper language in her broadcast ads, which can be viewed on her website, but apparently she has chosen to disregard that legal obligation with regard to the rest of her campaign materials." Kingsley also claims that Smith failed to register with the FEC within 15 days of announcing her candidacy for Congress.
While the disclaimer rule doesn't apply to materials like "bumper stickers, pins, buttons, pens and similar small items upon which the disclaimer cannot be conveniently printed," the FEC specifically lists "yard signs" as a form of public political advertising requiring the note. In the complaint, Kingsley included two materials lacking a disclaimer: a campaign flyer declaring Smith the "1st SERIOUS Candidate to OPPOSE PRO-ABORTION BIG GOVERNMENT Liberal Opponent in 20 Years!" and a surprisingly fetus-free yard sign photographed on Massachusetts Ave. identifying Smith as a candidate for Congress "Representing the Working Class."
Smith couldn't immediately be reached for comment.