Friday, October 27, 2006

Buying votes for a Democrat

In the Pink Texas pointed out an interesting Houston Chronicle article. It discusses potential vote-buying crimes being committed by Vietnamese-Americans implicitly supporting the Democratic candidate Hubert Vo, who is of Vietnamese descent. Their efforts stink of corruption in my opinion, and have no place in election politics:

  • The group, Vietnamese Community of Houston and Vicinity, has been running radio ads in Vietnamese "urging early votes at an Asian-American community center, and pointing out that $5 coupons available at the center can be used at a nearby mall."
  • The group sought feedback on the propriety of the ads, but then disregarded the suggestion to stop, instead seeking approval from "an official opinion." This sounds like a failed attempt at CYA, and they went up the chain hoping for approval from someone they could blame if they were later investigated.
  • Nonprofits with 501(c)3 tax status cannot make political endorsements, and the article suggests that the organization's support for get-out-the-vote is implicitly supporting the ethnically-aligned candidate. To avoid any accusations of misconduct they should have established a 501(c)4 and then explicitly promoted their preferred candidate.
The group has been doing a decent job of recovering at this point, cleaning up the mess before it taints the whole election. But they missed an opportunity to perform a well-targeted and proper GOTV effort, and they made their preferred candidate look bad.

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