Wednesday morning the Marshall County Election Board continued its proceedings on the formal complaint filed by State Representative for District 7 Jake Teshka against the Victory Committee.
In the complaint written on October 7th, Teshka alleged that a Facebook ad against him urged voters to “choose” his opponent, Ross Deal. The required disclaimer on the ad read, “Paid for by St. Joseph County Victory Committee” and didn’t indicate whether it was authorized by a candidate or candidate’s committee per Indiana Code.
During testimony, last week at the County Election Board hearing an attorney representing the Victory Committee said the disclaimer was more explicit by including St. Joseph County, although when the committee registered in St. Joe County they registered as Victory Committee.
Marshall County Election Board member Adam Lukenbill said he believed the Political Action Committee (AC) “Victory Committee” had a technical violation in their disclaimer because they didn’t use their registered name but did make an effort to clearly state the name of the PAC paying for the ad by including St. Joseph County. He said they failed to include a disclaimer stating if the candidate or the candidate’s committee had authorized the advertisement.
Local Board member Rick Huff said he did not believe it was a solicitation. He said, “I guess you could argue it’s a solicitation of a vote but it’s not even a solicitation of a vote.” He said it was not the candidate’s committee and that Mr. Teshka alleged that the Victory Committee violated 3-9-3-2.5(h). Huff said he believed “it was a relatively minor thing, but it’s still not compliant and therefore we have to take some action on it.”
Board member County Clerk Deb VanDeMark agreed with the determination and said, “While their intent was to say what their committee was, one place it’s Indiana Victory Committee, one place it’s Victory Committee, one place it’s State Victory Committee. We’ve got three names for this committee which is one problem I see. I think it should have said authorized by.”
The Marshall County Election Board was unanimous in their decision on two of the complaints, not using a clear PAC committee name and the advertisement didn’t include the required authorized by statement. They levied a $250 civil penalty against the PAC, Victory Committee. The final complaint from Jake Teshka concerning the lack of filing a CFA-2 with the State Election Board was not taken up by the local election board. That complaint should be addressed by the State Election Board.
The board also motioned to not refer the complaint any further.
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