After Rep. John Lovick falsely included Rep. Kirk Pearson in his list of endorsements for County Sheriff, I contacted Lovick's campaign directly.
I told Lovick that unless the endorsement was removed from his web site immediately, and -- because the false endorsement had been on Lovick's campaign web site for weeks -- a retraction posted on the web site. If both were not done, I would file a PDC complaint.
The endorsement was removed the very next day, and I asked where the retraction was. Lovick responded simply: "I appreciate hearing from you. I will deal with my colleague Representative Pearson on this issue."
Therefore, I filed the PDC complaint.
However, the PDC complaint was returned without an official investigation, because the PDC felt that the burden of "clear and convincing evidence" for "actual malice" was unmet. But "'Actual malice' means to act with knowledge of falsity or with reckless disregard as to truth or falsity" -- not just intent -- and I believe the evidence is clear and convincing.
The letter from the PDC says, "[Lovick] said that after being informed about the inclusion of Represenative Pearson's name as an endorser, he requested that his daughter remove his name from the website. Representative Lovick said that his daughter did remove Representative Pearson's name from the website, although it took some time since she is a volunteer. He said there was also some confusion about the spelling of Representative Pearson's first name, which added to the delay in removing his name."
So, let's get this straight. Lovick was told about it, and he told his daughter to fix it. At some point (between several minutes and several weeks), she attempts to do so, and fails, because she can't figure out how "Kirk" is spelled, even though there's only one Pearson (or any name remotely like it) on the list of endorsements. She either does not attempt to rectify the confusion, or tries to but is unsuccessful in figuring out who it is that is not endorsing Lovick whose last name is "Pearson."
Nothing was fixed, until 5 September, the day after I threatened to go to the PDC.
Lovick's claim to the PDC implies that they just finally got around to resolving scheduling and spelling problems and fixed it. But that's not the case: they fixed it only after they were threatened with legal action, and that means they could have fixed it sooner but simply didn't care enough to, which is to me what "reckless disregard as to truth or falsity" means.
The PDC thinks this does not amount to "clear and convincing evidence." I think it does. The PDC also seems to think it matters that this was not printed in paper, but only on the web site; I think it does not (and the law contains no distinction I can see).
Regardless, however, what is absolutely clear is that Lovick irresponsibly had Pearson's name on his web site as an endorser; that he took several weeks to remove it; and that when he finally got around to doing so, he refused to publicly state that his web site misinformed the public during that time.
I couldn't vote for such a man for sheriff, of all positions, who has such a lack of respect for truth. But maybe that's just me.Posted by pudge at October 16, 2007 03:56 PM | Email This