Tuesday, September 25, 2007

George F. Will - Sauce for the Times - washingtonpost.com

George F. Will - Sauce for the Times - washingtonpost.com: "The Times, a media corporation that is a fountain of detailed editorial instructions about how the rest of the world should conduct its business, seems confused about how it conducts its own. The Times now says the appropriate rate for MoveOn.org's full-page ad should have been $142,000, a far cry from $65,000, which is what the group paid. So the discount of $77,000 constitutes a large soft-money contribution to a federally regulated political committee. The Times' horror of such contributions was expressed in its enthusiasm for McCain-Feingold. FEC regulations state: 'The provision of any goods or services without charge or at a charge that is less than the usual and normal charge for such goods or services is a contribution.' Individuals are limited to contributing $5,000 in a calendar year; corporations such as the Times are forbidden to make any contributions. MoveOn.org is going to send the Times a check for $77,000. The Times has apologized, which is sweet, but normally the FEC does not accept apologies in lieu of fines. And often FEC fines are levied after intrusive investigations into motives and intentions. Will there be such an investigation of the Times? The FEC is not lenient when dealing with individuals who, less lawyered-up than the New York Times Co, fall afoul of regulations much more recondite than the bright line the Times ignored."