NES Response to Fair Elections Complaint Filed 7-4-2019 KPFT

Complaint #2 – Filed July 4, 2019

The complainant requests anonymity. The complainant cites an email by KPFT listener candidate Robert Gartner and states the email violated the third campaign rule. The third campaign rule states (in part):

Endorsement emails (web-based & list-serve) are permitted only if the email addresses were not gathered by the use of any station resources or web site. Endorsement emails must contain the disclaimer statement.

The cited email reads as follows:

“On Wed, Jul 3, 2019, 12:14 PM ‘Robert Gartner’ via pnb-spamcatcher-gmaillist <> wrote: Haw! The hypocrite speaks again! Just after he organized a candidate forum at a location I could not be allowed to attend. Robert Gartner Scapegoat Why do you bother to listen to this guy? Havent you had enough of his deceit?”

Discussion: The Pacifica national board list-serv is certainly a station resource and an email list that is gathered using station resources. It is the general list-serv that is available to the members and the public to contact the members of the Pacifica National Board, and during non-election times has an ongoing function as a receptacle for complaints about Pacifica-related matters that members would like to solicit board action on. Gartner’s email can be characterized as a complaint and seems to be directed at a member of the board, Bill Crosier. While the email does cite election-related activities, Bill Crosier is not himself a candidate in this election cycle. It is therefore difficult to characterize this email as an “endorsement” (or non-endorsement) email which would be covered by the fair campaign rule being cited. Fair campaign rule #6 addresses libelous and slanderous statements, which can arguably apply to terms like “hypocrite” and “deceit”, but specifies the limits of the rule jurisdiction to “about candidates”. Since Mr. Crosier is not a candidate in this election cycle, this rule is also not applicable to this email.

RULING: The complaint is without merit since the cited email does not constitute an endorsement of, a non-endorsement of, nor a slanderous or libelous statement about, a candidate running in the 2019 election cycle.