The Sun Newspapers logo recently appeared in a campaign circular that attacked District Three City Council runoff candidate Lisa Landau.
Sun Publisher Steven Remery said the Sun Newspapers’ logo was used without consent. “I did not give permission to use the Sun logo on this mailer, and would not have if given the opportunity. Further, I do not endorse candidates,” he said.”
Historically, endorsements by print media have been opinion articles—sometimes published without a signature and sometimes signed by a publisher—specifically declaring that the news organizations in question were endorsing a candidate. For example, in 1860 some publications specifically endorsed Abraham Lincoln.
The circular was labeled “a member communication paid for by the Democratic Party of Orange County,” and included the Fair Political Practices number 742006.
“There is nothing in the Political Reform Act that would deal with this type of activity/situation,” wrote Jay Wierenga, communications director for the Fair Political Practices Commission in a Jan. 31 email.
“Our jurisdiction is the Political Reform Act, the laws and regulations regarding it,” Wierenga wrote.
“One aspect of the Act is political advertising. The general tenet if the Act regarding political advertising is, basically, the disclosure of who is behind an ad, who (which committee, person, group, entity, etc.) is paying for it,” Wierenga wrote.
“The Act does not deal with the content of any political advertising, as content is, generally speaking, a free speech issue,” Wierenga wrote.