You might want to talk to Kirk Shelmerdine, former crew chief for Dale Earnhardt, who races in NASCAR as a field-filler. In 2004 he couldn’t sell advertising on one panel of his car, so he committed the terrible federal crime of putting a Bush/Cheney decal on it. Horror of horrors — he did not report the “value” of that decal to the FEC, thus violating the independent expenditure reporting requirement. After an extensive investigation, the FEC got into a convoluted internal argument about what the value of that decal placement was, i.e., how much would Mr. Shelmerdine have to pay himself to purchase the unsold advertising space on his own car and how much was that worth in the various races he participated in.
In a four-to-one vote — I cast the dissenting vote — the commission decided to send Shelmerdine a letter of admonishment that he had violated federal law for not reporting putting a decal on his own car. No telling how much he spent in attorneys’ fees — and his own time — in responding to this silly investigation.
Meanwhile, up in Canada, David Frum wrote recently:
Yesterday on this page, Gerry Nicholls accused Elections Canada of being a power-crazed bureaucracy motivated by petty vindictiveness.
That’s the optimistic scenario!