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? 


 

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