The first day is over and Round 1 goes unanimously to Morgan. His attorneys laid out a clear and convincing case that RLM (Art Pope's personal electioneering committee) did three things:
1. Send out more than 5000 nearly identical mailers
2. Coordinated their efforts with candidate campaigns
3. Engaged in express advocacy urging the defeat of specifc candidates.
Any single one of these offenses would meet the standard required for the SBOE to find against Pope. Any. Single. One.
Some other comments:
Morgan's second expert witness wasn't well prepared, but his testimony was compelling in terms of the "identical" question. As I've said elsewhere, anybody who isn't blind can see that the mailers are part of a concerted effort that relies on their similarity to one another.
Meanwhile, Pope's attorneys pissed off the SBOE chair by questionning Morgan's integrity and his recollection of detailed evidence going back several years. They challenged Morgan's motivation in bringing the petition in the first place, which is completely irrelevant to the question at hand. If all they have going for them is to challenge the credibility of a politician, the Puppetmaster is in deep shit.
The big question tomorrow is whether they get the Pope himself to take the stand. If they do, he will say they complied with the letter of the law (which they didn't) and argue that it's a free speech issue. Free speech my ass. Corporations have no 'inalienable' rights to do jack shit. Their rights are given by We the People, and as Morgan said in his own down-home way, the practice of corporations getting involved in elections is more than a little troubling.
Tomorrow should be interesting. It'll also be interesting to see how the media spin this sorry saga. I'm betting they'll pretend to be fair and balanced, taking the word of sleazoids as every bit as relevant as the simple rule of law. Stay tuned.