Republican representatives Randy Truitt and Mark Messmer have proposed House Bill No. 1521 in the Indiana General Assembly that among other things, makes it a Class A misdemeanor to "intentionally participate in the preparation, dissemination or broadcast paid political advertising or campaign material, or in the drafting of a letter to the editor, that:
(A) the personal or political character or acts of a candidate for nomination or election to a public office; or
(B) the effect of a public question;
(2) is designed or tends:
(A) to elect, injure, promote, or defeat the candidate; or
(B) to promote or defeat the public question; and
(3) contains information or a statement that is false;"
What idiots. This is a violation of the Indiana and United States Constitution. It will mean that television, radio and newspapers will be reluctant to run political campaign ads. It will stifle speech because being charged criminally is never inexpensive or fun even when one is acquitted, and people won't want to take the chance of the standard authoritarian prosecutor filing charges.
IT WILL MAKE IT HARDER FOR CHALLENGERS TO DEFEAT INCUMBENTS! Incumbents have lots of advantages in name recognition, something to offer donors (access to an elected official) etc.
Whoops, maybe Truit and Messmer aren't idiots after all. It is another Incumbent Protection Act.