I think it's funny when reporters spend a lot of time working on a story that doesn't pan out, but they have so much time invested... that they print the story anyway. So then we are treated to a breathless story that boils down to "Our extensive investigation has revealed that no laws were broken."
The Star's Daniel Scarpinato treats us to a great example in his shocking story.
Nothing links Bee, school districts' ad
State Senate President Tim Bee and his congressional campaign did not collaborate in writing with the school districts that used tax dollars to fund a TV ad for him, according to a Star review of months worth of e-mails.
Scarpinato actually treats us to a double Never Mind in this article. In fact, his investigation was doomed from the start because he's using the wrong law in his investigation.
The Supreme Court has ruled that you can spend as much of your money as you want on a political ad for a candidate as long as you don't coordinate with that candidate. If it's an independent expenditure then it's not subject to limitations.
When Scarpinato conducted his extensive investigation to determine if there was any coordination between Bee and the folks who produced the ad, he obviously thought the ad was using the independent expenditure exception. But that's not the case here.
The Supreme Court set a new standard in Wisconsin Right to Life.
a court should find that an ad is the functional equivalent of express advocacy only if the ad is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate.
Now that conservatives have a voice on the court, the First Amendment actually means something.
The ad for Bee is to thank him for his vote in the Senate. The Senate is still in session and the election is a quite a ways off. The Bee ad is not a campaign at at all. It doesn't matter who spent money on it. It doesn't matter if they coordinated with the Bee campaign. Bee could have written the ad and used corporate money to fund it....just like the Democrats are doing with the Project for Arizona's Future.
Not only did Scarpinato's investigation fail to yield any coordination...it wouldn't have mattered if he had found it. We have the rare combination of the double never mind.
Emily Litella would be so proud.