It was a Democrat named Harry who said, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”
Now another Democrat with less fortitude, but with the same first name as our 33rd President is feeling a little heat, so he’s asking for a court order to turn off the stoves and ovens. The Chairman of the Democratic Party in the home state of Senate Majority Harry Reid “filed a complaint” yesterday with the Federal Election Commissions (FEC) in an effort to shut down Dump Reid PAC, an outfit set up by Chuck Muth, a libertarian activist In Nevada working to reform the GOP.
The nub of the complaint is that the PAC failed to include a disclaimer on its mailings while including “the name of a candidate in their committee name in violation of” a federal statute. The Democrat requests the FEC enjoin the PAC from using Reid’s name and “be fined the maximum amount permitted by law.” Don’t think the attempt of a powerful politician’s allies to silence his critics will help lift his anemic approval ratings in the Silver State.
Maybe Harry’ll win this one on the legal merits of the case, but it would be a Pyrrhic Victory. I’ve met Chuck Muth; he won’t be silenced. Indeed, reporter Benjamin Spillman of the Las Vegas Review Journal (you know the paper Reid wants to “go out of business“) quips:
It’s unlikely the Democrats’ move will take the edge off Muth, a longtime Nevada conservative consultant whose Web site refers to him as “no better friend, no worse enemy.”
Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun agress, offering that this suit may well “create the loudest martyr you have heard.” Chuck’ll just set up shop under a different name, with Nevada Democrats’ legal shenanigans against him drawing more attention to his efforts.
ADDENDUM: Spillman’s article covers the issue pretty thoroughly; I highly recommend it, notably the comments of election law expert Rob Keiner who finds the violations technical and the allegations trivial.