On May 20, 2010, Strategic Media Services placed a joint statewide advertising “buy” for the campaigns of State Treasurer Converse Chellis (re-election) and Mick Zais (candidate for Superintendent of Education). This joint buy began on May 25, 2010 and is scheduled to run through June 8, 2010 (Primary Day).
When you look at the public files of the tv stations Zais/Chellis WIS media buy, the collaboraation is clear.
There are strict state ethics guidelines – detailed below – that prohibit “coordinated expenditures” of the Chellis/Zais variety.
Six stations across the state (see below) refused to run the joint ads because of concerns regarding their legality per state and federal law.
This isn’t the first time the Chellis campaign has run into ad placement problems. According to campaign sources, Time Warner has removed Chellis’ ads because they were considered false and misleading.
The Mick Zais connection is particularly curious. In his campaign, Zais has contended it is necessary to working with the legislature and has been critical of those who hold that body partially responsible fot the state’s poor educational system.
Converse Chellis is the legislature’s personal droid in the Treasurer’s office. Zais’ teaming with Chellis on these ad buys suggests – loudly – that the two are simpatico and cut pretty much of the same cloth.
Collaboration with Chellis to the extent listed below is a clear sign of Mick Zais’ alignment with the forces of South Carolina’s status quo. His campaigns extensive disregard for the spirit and, very likely, the letter of campaign laws and ethics violations should give voters pause. Will a Zais administration be working for students, parents, teachers and taxpayers or, like Converse Chellis, serve the will of the state legislature?
As for the joint venture ad buys, the
S.C. Code of Laws § 8-13-1340(A) states,
Except as provided in subsections (B) and (E), a candidate or public official shall not make a contribution to another candidate or make an independent expenditure on behalf of another candidate or public official from the candidate’s or public official’s campaign account or through a committee, except legislative caucus committees, directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained, or controlled by the candidate or public official.
With these joint ad buys, both the Chellis and Zais campaign committees are contributing to each other. Without coordinating their respective buys, each campaign would pay more for a stand-alone fifteen (15) second ad.
The respective campaigns stand to gain a substantial advantage from obtaining advertising time at a reduced rate which would not otherwise be available
Following is a list of television stations to which the joint ads were submitted and each stations decision on airing them.
WYFF – Running Chellis/Zais
WHNS – Running Chellis/Zais
WSPA – Refused Chellis/Zais Split
WCIV – Chellis/Zais on order form, but not on the placement form
WCSC – Running Chellis/Zais
WTAT – Refused Chellis/Zais
WCBD – Refused Chellis/Zais
WIS – Running Chellis/Zais
WLTX – Running Chellis/Zais
WACH – Running Chellis/Zais
WOLO – Refused Chellis/Zais
WMBF – Running Chellis/Zais
WBTW – Refused Chellis/Zais
WFXB – Refused Chellis/Zais
WPDE – Running Chellis/Zais