Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting spun

A short while ago, I pointed out that school voucher supporters were going to the LDS well to hint that Joseph Smith would have supported vouchers, or something. I was assuming they would stop short of that, and would just allude to "values" but alas, my worst fears have come true.
The Angel Moroni might want you to support vouchers, but he needs to brush up on Utah election laws.
I mentioned in Monday's column a series of ads that have been running on Utah radio stations extolling the virtues of tax credits through vouchers for parents who put their children in private schools.
One of the 30-second spots quoted the Book of Mormon: "And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning, yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches."
But the people behind the ads might have run afoul of the law. Anyone who collects and spends money to promote an issue for the purpose of influencing an election must register with the Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office as a Political Issues Committee. The people who paid for these political ads have not registered.
The day my column item ran, officials at the Lieutenant Governor's Office talked to agents at Crowell Advertising, which placed the ads for a client who remains anonymous.
Elections official Joe Demma said Crowell agents promised to register by Wednesday. But by Thursday they still hadn't.
Demma says the office will send a letter to Crowell giving them 14 days to comply with the law, then it will be turned over to the Attorney General's Office for possible prosecution.

I love Paul Rolly's columns by the way. Not only does this violate state election law but also it doesn't set out to prove what it hopes to prove. The issue is whether vouchers will make our children better off, not whether or not it is a good thing that some children have a better education that others. I mean who thinks it is a good thing that not every child can go to great schools, except the Malfoys?

If we are going to have an honest debate about the merits of vouchers, which I think State Rep. Steve Urquhart sincerely desires, then we can't resort to claiming the dominant religion of the state supports vouchers when it most certainly does not. However, I am not going to hold my breath waiting for Steve, PCE, or the Church to denounce the ad or the tactics in general.

No comments: