Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Literature envy

One of my favorite SD 43 Republicans stopped me over at Cub Foods (we can't all shop at the Wayzata Lunds) to express grudging praise for Sen. Terri Bonoff's latest direct mail literature piece, an "Independent expenditure paid for by the Minnesota DFL Party," according to the disclaimer. "Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee." (See my previous post on this lit piece.)

It's an 8-1/2 x 22 inch piece, folded into four panels to 8-1/2 x 5-1/2 for mailing. This enables the message to be told in four steps, like a TV ad: cover, first inside fold-out, second inside fold-out, and mailer. It was printed in full color, "on recycled paper using soy-based inks," as it says on the mailer side. The colors are in tasteful earth tones, very appealing to a west suburban audience. The message is simple, with bold bullet points that highlight Bonoff's legislative accomplishments.

The best part of the piece is the photography. There is at least one photo of the candidate on every panel, and the flattering photos of the candidate in a light-colored suit portray her as accessible and "working to bring people together." The piece was sent via bulk mail, not dropped by volunteers. It doesn't look like they produced this piece on the cheap.

It's nice for the candidate when the party makes these big independent expenditures, because this leaves more money for the candidate's campaign committee to buy other things like signage and their own lit. Candidates who abide by voluntary campaign spending limits receive cash subsidies from Minnesota taxpayers. In exchange for this money, candidates need to be careful to not circumvent the spending limits by simply having another entity produce their lit, for example.

The DFL has apparently figured out how to get these wonderful photos of the candidate "without the express or implied consent, authorization, or cooperation of, and not in concert with or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate or any candidate's principal campaign committee or agent," which is the definition of an independent expenditure in Minnesota Statue 10A.01 Subd. 18. I wonder how they managed that?

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