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American Taxpayers Alliance supports two judicial candidates in Alabama

A conservative advocacy group running television and radio ads supporting two candidates for the Alabama Supreme Court has not registered with the state, and the ads do not provide information about the group as required by state law.

But an attorney for the American Taxpayers Alliance said the commercials about judges Mike Bolin and Patti M. Smith are legal because they do not "expressly advocate" the election of the two candidates.

"I don't think there is anything in this ad that would be considered express advocacy," said Alan P. Dye, a Washington-based attorney for the alliance. ...

The ad does not mention any of the candidates' opponents. But an expert on political advertising said the ad's intent is clear, regardless of the group's claims that it is not an advocacy ad.

"I'm sorry, but that's still a political ad, and it's still a positive political ad," said Karen Cartee, a professor of advertising, public relations and speech communication at the University of Alabama. "I think that the lawyer needs to check up on the law. That clearly would be considered a positive spot endorsing someone." -- Secretive conservative group runs ads for Bolin, Smith (AP via AL.com)

I caught the TV ad the other evening, and I sure thought it was a candidate-sponsored ad.

Notice these two candidates are opponents of the "Ten Commandments slate" mentioned in the post just below this one.