It is about time this happened. AM Talk Radio is nothing but a 24/7 commercial for the Republican Party. They continually cross the line between editorial endorsement and out right advocacy of candidates and ballot amendments. They are nothing more than a vehicle for corporate America, which is prohibited from giving money to the Republicans directly, to indirectly give them in-kind contributions by supporting this nationwide coordinated around the clock attack on the Democrat Party. Let's hope this ruling is the beginning of more to come, and we can put a stop to this blatant abuse of our campaign finance laws by Yawn Vanity, WhataRush Limbaugh, MAnn Coulter, and all the rest of corporate America's fascist Ministry of Information:
Foes of gas-tax increase lose pair of court cases
By David Ammons
The Associated Press
OLYMPIA Foes of Washington's gas-tax increase have lost a pair of court cases, but say their efforts to overturn the 9.5-cent-per-gallon increase remain on track and they expect their initiative to make the November ballot.
The first 3 cents of the increase took effect Friday, added to the state's existing 28-cent-per-gallon tax.
Also on Friday, Thurston County Superior Court directed the critics to fully disclose their donors' identities immediately or forego their contributions, and ordered that KVI Radio report the value of two talk-show hosts' comments promoting Initiative 912.
The critics' lawyers said the KVI ruling would have a chilling effect on political commentary and editorials in the media. They said an appeal is possible.
KVI and Fisher Broadcasting executives were aghast. They said talk-show hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur were only doing what political commentators and newspaper editorial pages do across America: discussing issues and recommending action.
"Each host is entitled to his own opinion on the issues of the day," said Dennis Kelly, a top official at Fisher Broadcasting, KVI's parent company. "We don't agree with the premise of the ruling. If the judge's ruling holds, it will have a chilling effect on talk and news shows across America. It was a really unwise ruling."
Fisher's vice president and general manager, Rob Dunlop, said that even if the hosts crossed a line into direct campaign work, a notion he rejected, the station would have no way to quantify the commercial value.
The campaign manager, political consultant Brett Bader, called it "a dangerous and unenforceable ruling."
Shortly before close of business Friday, he complied with the ruling by estimating that the in-kind help was worth $20,000 to the campaign $10,000 apiece for the two hosts in May. But he made it clear he doesn't accept that even a penny was truly reportable.
In a separate case Friday, the same judge, Christopher Wickham, refused to stop the state from selling $70 million worth of highway bonds or otherwise encumbering the new gas-tax revenue before any vote on repeal.
Foes had asked that bond sales and signing of construction contracts be delayed, or that the state at least give potential buyers and contractors a clear warning that the tax could evaporate.
Wickham said he wouldn't second-guess the Legislature's decision to pass a bill that allows the state to sell highway bonds backed by the new taxes. A $70 million sale is expected this summer.
Bader, spokesman for A href="http://nonewgastax.com
/">nonewgastax.com, sponsors of the initiative to overturn the gas-tax increase, said the rulings were unwise but they wouldn't derail the campaign.
Initiative sponsors must collect about 275,000 signatures by Friday, the deadline.
The measure would let voters decide whether to overturn the Legislature's decision to boost the state's gas tax by 9.5 cents over four years.
The I-912 campaign had raised about $180,000 by May 30, including about $70,000 via the Internet, and has been unable to nail down every donor's street address because PayPal or credit-card companies don't allow that disclosure, lawyers told the court.
The campaign has tracked down about 75 percent of the wayward addresses and has always reported the donors' e-mail addresses, which should be adequate, said attorney C. Chip Goss.
Public Disclosure Commission Director Vicki Rippie said the commission doesn't view e-mail as an adequate address for campaign-finance reports.
The disclosure challenge was brought by prosecutors from Seattle, Auburn, Kent and San Juan County.
The opposition campaign, Keep Washington Rolling, said the I-912 forces "wantonly ignored the state's campaign-finance-reporting law."