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Oklahoma congressional candidate might have to file election reports on his plumbing company ads

A preliminary opinion from the Federal Election Commission says Republican Markwayne Mullin will have to disclose some information about his non-campaign ads but not his customers' names.
by Chris Casteel Published: May 24, 2012

— Markwayne Mullin, a Republican running for Congress in eastern Oklahoma, will have to file federal reports on his plumbing company's commercials if the Federal Election Commission approves an advisory opinion drafted by the agency's attorneys.

The draft opinion says Mullin's corporate commercials and a home improvement radio show he sponsors qualify as “electioneering communications” since they clearly identify a federal candidate and they reach at least 50,000 people in the 2nd Congressional District.

The FEC is scheduled to consider the draft opinion at a meeting Thursday in Washington.

Mullin's attorney, Jason Torchinsky, said the opinion was subject to change during the commission meeting.

Mullin requested the opinion since the rules regarding electioneering communications kick in 30 days before a primary election.

Oklahoma's primary elections are June 26; Mullin has five Republicans opponents in the 2nd District race.

Mullin's plumbing company spends about $40,000 a month on television and radio advertising, and many of the ads feature Mullin saying, “Hi, I'm Markwayne Mullin.”

Electioneering communications are typically ads sponsored by outside groups promoting or attacking a candidate in a federal race. But the commission, citing federal law and court cases, has never issued a blanket exemption for ads for a candidate's private business.

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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