The Missouri Hospital Association spent over a quarter million dollars ($262,580 to be exact) through July 21 on direct mail costs for a flyer trashing Missouri’s Proposition C, the Health Care Freedom Act. The deceptive, hypocritical content of the flyer has already been well documented by Dana Loesch and United for Missouri, so I won’t belabor that point here.
What is new is that these professional hospital lobbyists and their expensive Austin-based communications firm violated Missouri campaign finance laws in the process.
Missouri law (Section 130.031.8 of the state statutes) requires a disclaimer identifying the sponsor of any written material pertaining to any election (specifically including a ballot measure such as Proposition C). The law requires that the disclaimer be made “in a clear and conspicuous manner” in accordance with specific standards. While the flyer used the smallest print anywhere on the flyer to disclose “Paid for by the Missouri Hospital Association”, that’s all the information the disclaimer disclosed. The law specifically and clearly requires that, in addition to the name of the entity, an association such as the MHA must also include in its “paid for by” disclaimer “the name of the principal officer of the entity, by whatever title known, and the mailing address of the entity, or if the entity has no mailing address, the mailing address of the principal officer.” The flyer’s disclaimer failed to disclose those required items. The MHA mailing address appears elsewhere in the flyer (but not where the law required it to be stated), and the flyer failed altogether to identify its principal officer (or his or her title). I’d like to know who that scumbag is, wouldn’t you?
And for a title, how about “criminal?” Purposely violating Missouri campaign laws is a crime, specifically a Class A Misdemeanor.
Update: A new MHA filing discloses an additional $145,742 in spending against Proposition C, bringing the total over $400,000. A second mailing repeated the same distorted substance, but at least got the disclaimer right.