A formal complaint has been lodged with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by Shawn T Flaherty, a local attorney and former PA State Representative.To make a long-ish story short-ish(er), the complaint alleges that when Ms Hart was on the "Glen Meakem show on News Talk 104.7 she broke the law. Glen Meakem buys time on the show to broadcast his views. The press release continues by saying that he's entirely within his rights to do so.
The complaint alleges that Melissa Hart, Republican nominee for Congress in Pennsylvania's Fourth Congressional District, violated the laws governing federal elections by accepting an illegal campaign contribution.
The complaint, however, goes on to say that Meakem "promoted Hart repeatedly while Melissa Hart was appearing on the show" and "then went on to ask the listeners to go to Melissa Hart's campaign website and to make contributions." At that point, the complaint alleges, the radio show became a combination of a fund-raiser and a promotional advertisement. The allegation is that it's a direct contribution from a corporation for her campaign for federal office.
KDKA quoted Melissa Hart pointing out (if my memory serves) that Flaherty has given money to Congressman Altmire's campaign.
It's true that he's donated money to the Altmire campaign ($1,000 in fact, in early June), but how does that change the complaint? Let the FEC decide whether the case has any merit.
The Altmire campaign has issued this statement:
This complaint was filed by a private citizen and not my campaign. These are serious allegations and I hope the Federal Election Commission fully investigates this matter.Let's hope they do.
I dropped the Hart campaign an e-mail for a comment. I'll post whatever I get.
UPDATE: The Hart campaign issued a press release today about this. They call the complaint "baseless" and point out that "anyone can file a complaint with the FEC" adding that the process usually takes a few weeks and won't be decided until after the election. Melissa Hart:
This is clearly an attempt by the Altmire campaign to distract voters from the real issues. Altmire and his supporters know that if public finds out where he really stands on issues, he will lose because I am the only candidate in the race who has a record of representing the best interests of Western Pennsylvanians.For the record, the Altmire campaign has already said it didn't come from his campaign.