False Political Statements: Often Illegal but Rarely Punished

By Ashby Jones The Cleveland Plain-Dealer recently teed up an interesting question: why don’t…

Georgia (Nov 6, 2012) — The Cleveland Plain-Dealer recently teed up an interesting question: why don’t more political candidates get thrown in jail for making false statements on the stump?

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Link To Article

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/10/31/false-political-statements-often-illegal-but-rarely-punished/?mod=WSJBlog

Well, you say, there exist no laws against stretching the truth on the campaign trail. Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. According to the Plain Dealer, in Ohio, as well as in 19 other states, it’s a crime to make false statements about your opponent in an election campaign.

Said Robert Smith, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University and leading researcher on ethics laws and commissions, to the Plain-Dealer: “It has become more prevalent and more characteristic of political campaigns to play footloose and fancy-free with the facts.”

In Ohio, a violation of the law is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Okay, so why don’t we see more politicians hauled off to answer for their half-truths? 



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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