Two things come to mind as I research this problem. First, the law against 'giving false statements'. When a newspaper willfully and deliberately print election information that leaves out half of the democratic candidates for governor it is attacking a government operation......an election. Lying about the details of an election is False Statement and a newspaper can and will be sued for this. The second piece with False Statement is the damage it does to Cindy Walsh as printing these statements that clearly indicate there are only 3 candidates in the Democratic race for Governor are libelous.
Any matter within the jurisdiction of these branches of government include ELECTIONS. This can be used with 501c3s and FCC regulated media as well. It includes the Democratic candidates in this race for governor and the Maryland agencies tasked with oversight of Maryland elections. I shouted throughout this campaign that organizations could not openly lie about the details of an election as they did.
ELECTIONS ARE COVERED UNDER THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH.
FALSE STATEMENT- U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 47 › § 1001 18 U.S. Code § 1001 -
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully— (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years
- Title 18, Section 1001 of the U.S. Code allows the federal government to prosecute anyone who knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals or makes a false statement or representation of material fact to a federal agent, or knowingly either makes or uses a document that contains a materially false statement. What is important to note here is how broad this language truly is. The law does not require that the false statement be related to the matter actually being investigated, so long as it is knowingly and willfully false.
First, the false statement in question must be "material."
Second, federal law permits prosecution even for statements which are not made under oath. The investigator need only receive an intentionally false statement relating to a material fact to justify prosecution. There is no legal requirement under federal law that the statement be made under oath.
We know I can be successful with false statements but is what was done defamation? In this case it is what wasn't written in the midst of an active campaign. If a business person was in the middle of a complex business deal and the press published an article proven false that lessened his credentials causing him to lose that contract----that seems to be defamation. The act of printing an election list of Democratic primary candidates for Governor of Maryland without Cindy Walsh injured me in my business or calling.
A defamatory communication is one that exposes a person to hatred, ridicule, or contempt, lowers him in the esteem of his fellows, causes him to be shunned, or injures him in his business or calling. Defamation can take the form of libel (published or broadcast communication, including information published on a website) or slander (oral communication).
It often has been said that truth is an absolute defense to libel. Absolute accuracy is not the appropriate criterion. Rather, the general standard is that the information must be substantially true.
Under the common law, the media defendant had the burden of proving that the statements challenged by the plaintiff were true. The Supreme Court changed that standard for libel suits involving public officials and public figures. Thus, plaintiffs are required to prove that the statements of fact were false.
As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. Hepps, private individuals suing for libel also must prove the statement was false if it involved a matter of public concern.
An altered or inaccurate quotation that damages the reputation of the person quoted can be actionable.
We all have to fear what a government controlled by neo-liberals and neo-cons will do when they regulate....it will look a lot like China and how it regulates. This is why neo-liberals in Congress wanted to define who a journalist can be with the definition tying a journalist to working for a corporate entity. Feinstein and Durbin----two great big neo-liberals---are pushing for this definition. It is relation to freedom of press and protection of journalists and their resources. This would take away the legal protections of journalist from whistle-blowers writing on the internet and releasing information most people would determine of public interest. It reigns in more and more the voice of individuals in the US.
What the FCC and FEC will not do is extend Federal Election laws to the internet. We all know that most communications are going online so as news agencies move their organizations online they are out of the reach of the FCC and FEC laws protecting free and fair elections. This is huge folks. This is why media in Maryland feel they can say anything they want as regards elections to the exclusion of Cindy Walsh for Governor because my platform is anti-global corporations. If all media venues are allowed to ignore FCC and IRS laws regarding elections-----we the people will have lost our ability to participate in elections and as in Maryland---only hand-chosen candidates will be heard. I'm not supporting regulation of speech----I am supporting the protection of elections and the rights of citizens to legislate requires the ability of candidates having that platform to be heard.
This article deals with campaign finance but the FCC and FEC have not mentioned election law protecting candidates and voters.
FEC Seeks Comment on Internet Regulation
by Guest Blogger, 4/4/2005
Under orders from a federal court to reconsider its exemption of Internet communications from campaign finance regulations, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) proposed new rules on March 24, seeking public comment on a variety of issues. The proposed rules, which provide more questions than answers, were preceded by an outcry from bloggers, members of Congress and others concerned about possible over-regulation of Internet political activity. Comments are due in late May and a public hearing will be held in later June.
The proposed rules take a generally limited approach to FEC regulation of Internet communications. The primary provisions include:
- Treatment of campaign ads on the Internet under the same rules as off line ads, which would require they be paid for with funds subject to contribution limits.
- Possible simplified disclosure rules for regulated Internet political communications.
- No disclosure by bloggers paid by candidates or campaigns (although the FEC asks for further comment on whether such payments should be disclosed).
- Links to candidate sites and re-publication of campaign materials through websites or e-mail would only be a regulated contribution if paid for.
- Extension of the media exemption to online journals, but the FEC asks whether it this should only apply to publications that also appear offline.
- Exemption for individual volunteers if using a personal computer, or one available at a public site, such as a library or Internet café. Isolated, incidental or occasional use of computers by individuals at their place of work would be permissible if it did not exceed one hour per week.
- Disclaimers stating the funding source for unsolicited e-mail to more than 500 recipients that solicit contributions or expressly advocate election or defeat of a federal candidate if the e-mail addresses are purchased.
That same day the Online Coalition sent a letter to Thomas expressing concern about the potential impact the rulemaking could have on Internet based political speech. The bipartisan coalition, whose tagline reads "from left to right, preserve our rights", said, "The Internet is a fundamental tool in the American political process. Just this week, we learned that 75 million Americans used the Internet to gather news, read commentary, discuss issues, register to vote, and generally join in the democratic process during the last election cycle. We believe the Internet is the primary driving force behind the increased participation among traditionally under-represented groups of voters ...." The letter also expressed concern that the FEC's media exemption may not provide sufficient protection to bloggers and asked that the definition of prohibited coordination with campaigns be clarified. It has nearly 3,000 signatories.
Members of Congress also joined the public discussion prior to publication of the draft rule. On March 17, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced S. 678, a bill that would exempt Internet communications from FEC regulation. Reid also sent a letter to Thomas saying, "Congress did not intend to regulate this new and growing medium in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) .... Regulation of the Internet at this time, with its blogs and other novel features, would blunt its tremendous potential, discourage broad political involvement in our nation and diminish our representative democracy."
On March 11, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, and 13 other representatives sent a letter to the FEC urging caution, saying the FEC should "make explicit in this rule that a blog would not be subject to disclosure requirements, campaign finance limitations or other regulations simply because it contains political commentary or includes links to a candidate or political party website, provided that the candidate or political party did not compensate the blog for such linking."
Public statements by the FEC commissioners, as well as the many questions posed in the proposed rule, makes it clear no decisions about the final approach to Internet regulation have been made. Among the many difficult issues to be debated is whether bloggers that are paid to post statements that support or attack candidates should disclose the payment. On March 4, the New York Times reported that in the 2004 South Dakota Senate campaign two bloggers were paid $27,000 and $8,000 by the ultimate winner, Sen. John Thune (R-SD), to post information attacking then Sen. Tom Daschle. There were also reports that the Howard Dean campaign paid $12,000 to bloggers during the Democratic primaries.
Below we see why the US no longer has a resource for news that assures accuracy and truth. It is what has given us these partisan new programs that simply put forward propaganda---reporting spin as news. It is also what allow public media to drop fair and balanced news----our one last resource for relatively accurate news-----giving us neo-conservative/neo-liberal NPR, now literally a US Chamber of Commerce global corporation propaganda machine. NPR staff were complaining they were being forced to report spin and not journalism after the 2010 elections-----that's when NPR got rid of the journalists who did not want to report spin.
This is why you rarely see someone like me or the platform issues in my campaign discussed in US news. They can completely ignore the news vital to all American citizens----loss of democracy, loss of Rule of Law, government corruption---it is why news operations have eliminated their investigative journalism. Here in Maryland you never hear the issues on my platform discussed at all leaving the citizens of Maryland as one of the most uninformed on public policy in the nation. We only hear one politician speaking a view against another. I had WBAL reporter tell me when I tried to speak on camera about my view on taxation----YOU ARE NOT IMPORTANT----GO AWAY.
You see it was neo-liberal Obama and his FCC that took Fair and Balanced ----The Fairness Doctrine---off the books and ended our one source---public media. It was an unnecessary distraction. All of this is done to allow businesses the freedom to profit any way they see fit. Forget about the need for a citizens to be informed by hearing all sides of an issue. So, The Baltimore Sun wants a neo-liberal in office that will work for corporations so it is to its advantage to leave off all candidates in an election that have a platform that seeks to empower people. This is why we have pols like Bush and Obama and all choices available only neo-cons and neo-liberals.
AN INFORMED CITIZENTRY?
OH, IT WAS ALL ABOUT JOB-CREATION!
FCC Officially Kills 'Fair and Balanced' Broadcast Rules
- By Mark Hachman
- August 22, 2011 06:22pm EST
The FCC also announced that it would delete obsolete "broadcast flag" rules, as well as outdated rules governing cable programming rates, as well as broadcast applications and proceedings rules.
"Our extensive efforts to eliminate outdated regulations are rooted in our commitment to ensure that FCC rules and policies promote a healthy climate for private investment and job creation," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, in a statement. "I'm proud of the work we are doing toward our goal of being model of excellence in government. This includes our recent commitment to act in accordance with the recent Executive Order on Regulation and Independent Agencies, which is consistent with the values and philosophy we apply at the FCC."
Although the Fairness Doctrine is now officially purged, it had essentially been off the books for decades, as it had been deemed unconstitutional in 1987, and irrelevant in the age of cable news and the Internet. Genachowski had said in June, however, that would pledge to get rid of the Fairness Doctrine as part of an executive order, issued by President Obama, to get rid of outdated regulations.
The FCC's Fairness Doctrine required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance in a manner that was honest, equitable and balanced.
"The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction," Genachowski said in a statement. "As I have said, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead. The Fairness Doctrine holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago. I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books."
Genachowski said that the work would continue.
"Our work is not done," he wrote. "I have directed each bureau at the FCC to conduct a review of rules within their areas with the goal of eliminating or revising rules that are outdated or place needless burdens on businesses. We are also in the process of developing a retrospective review plan, pursuant to the recent Executive Order."
The FCC has already eliminated over 50 other outdated regulations, it said.
Let's look at the breakdown of media providing fair and balanced and accurate news. We now have neo-liberal MSNBC and conservative talk shows spouting partisan news while completely ignoring all of the breakdown of Rule of Law. The US is now controlled by corporate media that sends out propaganda and not investigative journalism. This is best reflected in how the news agencies used these election polls to illegally intervene in the Maryland Primary for Governor. Manipulating polling standards to create a higher percentage giving numbers like 'Brown polling at 48 or 52% of democratic voters' was a willful and deliberate fraud as we see Brown won with 12% of voters as polls showed early in the primary. The difference is breath-taking.
Below you see a Supreme Court case directed at False Statements and public officials. The case of False Statements brought by private citizens still has greater protection.
The Uninhibited Press, 50 Years Later
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
MARCH 8, 2014
Perhaps no one understood both the necessity and the costs of a free press better than Thomas Jefferson. In a 1787 letter to a friend, he wrote, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
Two decades later, Jefferson, by then a president battered by years of criticism, saw things differently. “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper,” he wrote. “Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”
This tension lies at the heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee that “no law” may abridge “the freedom of speech, or of the press.” How is society to preserve open criticism of the government, while also protecting individuals from libel, or the publication of damaging false statements?
Fifty years ago this Sunday, the Supreme Court answered that question with a landmark decision in New York Times v. Sullivan. The ruling instantly changed libel law in the United States, and it still represents the clearest and most forceful defense of press freedom in American history.
The case involved an ad that had appeared in The Times in 1960, condemning “an unprecedented wave of terror” against civil-rights demonstrators by “Southern violators,” particularly in Alabama. The ad was a plea for national attention, and for donations to support the movement. L. B. Sullivan, a Montgomery city commissioner, sued The Times for libel, claiming that the ad clearly targeted him, even if not by name, and that it contained numerous factual errors. Applying plaintiff-friendly libel laws, an Alabama state court awarded him $500,000.
The Supreme Court voted unanimously to overturn that verdict. The country’s founders believed, Justice William Brennan Jr. wrote, quoting an earlier decision, “that public discussion is a political duty, and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government.” Such discussion, he added, must be “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open,” and “may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”
To the court, the civil-rights context was key: The ad was “an expression of grievance and protest on one of the major public issues of our time,” and Alabama officials could not shut down that criticism, even though it contained minor errors. “Erroneous statement is inevitable in free debate,” Justice Brennan reasoned, and “must be protected if the freedoms of expression are to have the breathing space that they need to survive.”
My complaint centers on the rights of voters to be informed on all the issues in an election race and to know the candidates which appear on a ballot. Below you see where freedom of speech protects the persons receiving the information. Here in Maryland you will not hear one word written or spoke in media on most of the issues in my campaign platform and these are the issues most important to many people. This is why my campaign was censured-----my platform.
'Freedom of speech encompasses not only the spoken and written word, but also all kinds of expression (including non-verbal communications, such as sit-ins, art, photographs, films and advertisements). Under its provisions, the media — including television, radio and the Internet — is free to distribute a wide range of news, facts, opinions and pictures. The amendment protects not only the speaker, but also the person who receives the information. The right to read, hear, see and obtain different points of view is a First Amendment right as well'.
I just want to end by saying that Maryland has the least election protections in the nation. Even False Statements and False Claims are missing in action for all but a few categories. We have widespread Medicare/ Medicaid fraud in Maryland because we are exempt from Federal oversight for these programs and because of this weak False Claims legislation.
This all adds up to having incumbents who legislate to protect the fraud and corruption that fills this state. It has spread to elections with the willful and deliberate attempt to keep any candidate with ending corporate fraud and government corruption out of these races.
STOP ELECTING NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONS THAT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. DO YOU HEAR YOUR POLS SHOUTING THE NAMES OF THE POLS THAT VOTED THIS DOWN? IF NOT, THEY SUPPORT IT. WE HAVE TO GET THESE CORRUPT POLS OUT OF OFFICE.
A democrat would not allow massive corporate fraud to take money from the public coffers.
Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : September 2009 |
In Pursuit of a Maryland False Claims Act
By Zachary A. Kitts
With a projected revenue shortfall of $700 million for the current fiscal year and $1.5 billion for the next, Maryland faces a budget crisis of monumental proportions. Remarkably, in each of the two last legislative sessions, the legislature has failed to pass a simple, common-sense piece of legislation that would potentially return tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to the Maryland Treasury while preventing tens or hundreds of millions more from ever leaving the Treasury in the first place. At the same time, this one simple piece of legislation would protect the integrity of Maryland’s Medicaid program, as well as virtually every other state government program in existence, all without costing Maryland a dime.
Simply put, there is no question that if Maryland is serious about facing the budget shortfall and improving Medicaid’s services to the underprivileged, the enactment of a Maryland False Claims Act (FCA) must be among its top priorities. In the last two legislative sessions, a bi-partisan effort – led by Governor Martin O’Malley himself – to enact a Maryland False Claims Act was defeated, both times by a single vote in the Senate. Both times, the statute’s defeat was primarily the result of a concentrated lobbying effort by Maryland healthcare providers.
False Claims Act is the primary tool used by the federal government to combat fraud, waste and abuse, and now Congress wants the states on board as well.
Far from fearing a Maryland FCA, however, healthcare providers should embrace this common-sense legislation. In the first place, passage of a Maryland FCA would increase the funds available for Medicaid by increasing the federal government’s share of Maryland’s total Medicaid costs. This split between the federal and state governments is known as the “federal medical assistance percentage” (FMAP), and Maryland currently splits the bill with the federal government 50/50.
Thanks to the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), however, by passing a state FCA, Maryland can alter the Medicaid split to 60/40 in its favor for all money recovered under its state FCA. The reasoning behind this incentive is no secret – the federal False Claims Act is the primary tool used by the federal government to combat fraud, waste and abuse, and now Congress wants the states on board as well. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the DRA would reduce Medicaid spending at the federal level by some $252 million over the period 2006-2010, and by more than $1 billion over the period from 2006-2015.
In predicting the increased revenues Maryland would receive from enacting a Maryland False Claims Act, however, there is no need for speculation – we have the examples of Virginia and 24 other states to guide us. Virginia passed its FCA – called the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (VFATA) – in 2002; it became law on July 1, 2003. That same year, the Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit collected $11.8 million in civil fines and recoveries. In FY 06-07, by way of contrast, Virginia recovered more than $117 million; for FY 07-08, more than $450 million was recovered using the VFATA.
However, the recovery of treble damages and civil penalties is far from the only benefit Maryland would receive from passing a Maryland False Claims Act. A Maryland FCA would level the playing field, and remove the advantage dishonest healthcare providers currently enjoy over the honest. Moreover, just a few high-profile prosecutions for treble damages, civil penalties, and attorney’s fees will quickly cause any healthcare providers that may have been approaching the line between honest and dishonest to rethink their business model. The added benefit that comes from increased compliance is not to be understated.
As a final thought, Maryland would be better served by passing a general FCA (which protects all state money, and makes it unlawful to submit any false claim to the state for money), as opposed to a healthcare-specific FCA (which focuses solely on false claims by healthcare providers). While Medicaid may be the program most at risk, it is far from the only area where the dishonest few are enriching themselves at a high cost to everyone else. If Maryland were to pass a healthcare-only FCA, it would leave the rest of the state’s dollars open to fraud, waste and abuse. California, for example, has recovered more than $291 million from non-healthcare fraudfeasors over the last 10 years using its FCA in problematic areas such as unclaimed property, state technology procurement, state construction projects and school construction. A little closer to home, after the well-publicized 2008 settlement of a Virginia qui tam case concerning a federal credit union’s alleged failed to deliver unclaimed property to Virginia, Virginia’s revenues from unclaimed property in FY 2009 jumped 56 percent (from roughly $80 million per year) to more than $125 million for 2008.
For more than 146 years, the Federal False Claims Act has been the primary tool used by the United States to protect the public fisc and to combat fraud, waste and abuse in government programs. This common-sense legislation will benefit everyone – the healthcare industry included. There is simply no reason for Maryland to sit on the sidelines any longer.
Zachary A. Kitts is a partner at the firm of Cook Kitts & Francuzenko, PLLC, in Fairfax County, Virginia, where he focuses his practice on qui tam litigation under the federal False Claims Act, employment law, and other complex litigation matters.