UPDATE: Burner’s campaign has filed a complaint with the FEC (you can download it here), arguing that Rep. Dave Reichert does not have enough cash on hand to cover all the TV time he’s booked. The Burner campaign says the ad buy puts Reichert about $580,000 in the red and that his media buyer, Media Plus—by securing the time for him—is making an illegal campaign contribution. The Reichert campaign does not return my calls (and can you blame them, Goldy’s such a potty mouth), but Reichert spokeswoman Amanda Halligan did talk to the Seattle Times. The Seattle Times reports:
Reichert campaign spokeswoman Amanda Halligan said Media Plus+ pays for the ads and then sends the campaign a bill. They pay it, she said, “like any other business.”
“There’s no loan associated with it,” she said.
Yesterday’s post on Media Plus’ $530,000 loan to the Rep. Reichert’s campagin for Reichert’s ad blitz on KIRO, KOMO, and KING (the number is actually $777,000 when you add in KING, which I didn’t have at the time), included an interview with the FEC that laid out a possible loophole for Reichert. Otherwise, the loan/contribution would be in violation of election law.
The loophole is this: Even though corporations can’t directly loan money to candidates, Media Plus’ arrangement with Reichert—getting his ad time on credit—is part of Media Plus’ established practice with stations and clients. So, when Reichert ends the quarter all paid up, the FEC may simply see the whole arrangement as a “service” provided by Media Plus, not a contribution.
That raises a question, though: Is it Media Plus’ established practice to advance credit at such a high risk?
Darcy Burner’s lawyer, Perkins Coie attorney Ryan McBrayer, puts it this way:
“Media Plus probably doesn’t extend credit to any of their clients in an amount greater than the amount the client earned all of the previous quarter.”
That’s a good point. Reichert raised $524,000 in the last quarter. He’s already on the hook for nearly $800,000 in TV time for this quarter?
Media Plus looks to have bought airtime for the Reichert campaign that is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the Reichert campaign raised all of last quarter. If so, Media Plus is really making an illegal corporate contribution because the Federal Election Campaign Act bans the extension of credit in such disproportionate and unreasonable amounts.