Schneider May Have Violated Election Law

Brad Schneider has landed himself in hot water for potentially breaking Federal Election Commission rules. Nathan Gonzales with Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call unpacks the possible violations below.

The issue is with Brad Schneider’s shadowed face during the disclaimer – an ironic blunder given Schneider’s ongoing attempts to hide information about his tax returns and so-called small business experience.

It looks like Brad Schneider has a lot more work to do to introduce himself to the 44% of constituents who haven’t seen him do enough to form an opinion about him.


House Candidate May Have Faulty Disclaimer in Campaign Ad

Roll Call

By Nathan L. Gonzales

September 3, 2014 – 2:16pm

Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider unveiled his first television ad Tuesday in his competitive race for re-election in Illinois 10th District. The 30-second spot tries to rally Democratic voters by attacking the tea party — but the ad also might have a faulty disclaimer that runs afoul of campaign finance law.

Twenty-one seconds into “Together,” the congressman begins his disclaimer: “I’m Brad Schneider and I approve this message because we’re all in this together, accountable to each other.” But the voiceover is coupled with two shots: one of part of the side of Schneider’s face in a shadow as he drives a car and a second shot of him quickly entering a building through a revolving door and barely showing his face.

According to the Federal Election Commission, disclaimers can be conveyed one of two ways:

•    A full-screen view of the candidate making the statement (11 CFR 110.11(c)(3)(ii)(A)); or

•    A “clearly identifiable photographic or similar image of the candidate” that appears during the candidate’s voice-over statement. (11 CFR 110.11(c)(3)(ii)(B)).

This particular ad doesn’t fulfill the first requirement and may not fulfill the second requirement. You can see an example of a more typical disclaimer fulfilling the second set of guidelines in one of Schneider’s ads from 2012.

According to one campaign finance attorney, the latest ad is a close call as to whether it complies with the FEC’s disclaimer rules. Because of that, the attorney added that the FEC is probably unlikely to levy a civil penalty against the campaign if a complaint were to be filed.

“We believe, based on content of the ad and that particular shot, that there is zero doubt that it is a clearly recognizable image of Brad Schneider,” said Democratic media consultant Eric Adelstein, who created the ad.

In Schneider’s highly competitive race against former Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill., both parties are looking for the slightest opening to get an advantage in the race. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates the race as Pure Tossup.