Saturday, January 29, 2011

FPPC strengthens rules for slate mailers

FPPC strengthens rules for slate mailers - Sacramento Bee
The Fair Political Practices Commission adopted new rules Friday to strengthen disclosure requirements for slate mailers.

The mass-produced mail pieces, often labeled "voter guides," urge support or opposition for a series of candidates or issues on the ballot, many of whom pay to be included on the slate.

The adopted regulations seek to ensure disclaimers designating paid placement and disclosing that the slate mailer organizations are not tied to official political parties are clearly identifiable and easy to read.

Center for Governmental Studies President Bob Stern, co-chairman of an FPPC-created task force that recommended the changes, said seeing a politically involved colleague mistakenly believe a slate mailer she received was showcasing official party-endorsed candidates reinforced the need for the changes.

"If somebody as aware as that is not aware of the fact that these slate mailers are not necessarily Democratic- or Republican-endorsed candidates, then we have a problem," said Stern, who helped craft the original 1974 Political Reform Act. "There are some people who are clearly misled by slate mailers."

Stern and political attorney Chuck Bell, co-chairman of the Chairman's Advisory Task Force on the Political Reform Act, outlined additional recommendations for updating the act.
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These slate mailers have been a problem locally, as some candidates have chosen to use them, implying that they have received endorsement from one party or the other when in fact they have not.

Party questions Times-Standard Letter-To-The-Editor