It appears there is a falling out among the geniuses responsible for an anonymous mailer that was sent out to Madison County voters before the August 2015 primary elections for supervisors. Geoff Pender reported in the Clarion-Ledger last week:
The case of an anonymous campaign mailer in 2015, and a related anonymous federal lawsuit against the governor, attorney general and secretary of state, appear to be over.
Political operative Greg Brand and printing company owner George Williams agreed to a “bill of information” on a misdemeanor election violation and each was sentenced to six months of probation and a $500 fine. Brand said the third person involved in the mail-out and lawsuit was former Madison County Engineer Rudy Warnock. No Hinds County court records available this week referenced Warnock. The attorney general’s office, which prosecuted the case, did not respond to numerous requests for information or comment beyond a short statement that noted Brand and Williams had pleaded guilty and received probation and fines....
“This wasn’t something clandestine we were doing over in a corner to hide something,” Brand said. “… Rudy Warnock paid for the project, Mr. Williams produced and mailed it, and I advised them that it did not have to have who paid for it because it did not say who to vote for one way or the other,” Brand said Wednesday. “… Rudy Warnock and the mayor (Butler) – their love for each other is well known. It turns out she got the sweep in the supervisor races, and he lost his job.”
However, Mr. Pender unearthed some rather interesting information:
“We are unable to comment on any other potential defendants at this time,” the AG’s statement said.
Neither Warnock, who contributed at least $10,000 to Hood’s campaign last year, nor his attorney returned repeated calls.
Is this a case of pay to play? Mr. Pender continued:
Brand, Williams and an anonymous third person in turn have dropped a federal lawsuit — they had filed as “Anonymous Doe, Anonymous Roe and Anonymous Company” — against Gov. Phil Bryant, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Attorney General Jim Hood. The lawsuit claimed state law requiring information identifying the sender on political mail-outs violates their right to free speech.Case closed.
The case relates to a Madison County mail-out during the 2015 elections. It depicted a cartoon Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler — who was then running for state auditor — as a puppet master pulling the strings controlling three Madison County supervisor candidates.
Hosemann was incensed by this anonymous mailer and others that hit days before the Aug. 4 primary, calling them “gutless” and calling on Hood to launch an investigation. Hosemann has since championed tougher campaign laws, penalties and reporting requirements for third-party groups..... Rest of article.
Kingfish note: There are a couple of questions that should be asked in this case.
1. The guy who created the mailers is prosecuted. The guy who printed the mailers and distributed them is prosecuted. What about the guy who paid for them?
2. The Secretary of State reported that other anonymous mailers were distributed before the primary. Did the Attorney General or anyone else investigate those mailers as well?
The orders and actual mailer are posted below.