Published January 14, 2015
A draft opinion by election regulators would allow a large auto dealership in Wisconsin to continue commercials that mention the chairman's name during the final days of his Senate race.
Federal law bans corporate-funded broadcast advertisements that mention political candidates within 30 days of the primary and 60 days of the general election.
Russ Darrow Jr., chief executive of the Russ Darrow (search) Group of Menomonee Falls, Wis., is a Republican candidate for Senate in the Sept. 14 primary. The company, which owns 20 automobile dealerships, 30 franchises and a leasing company, had sought the opinion from the Federal Election Commission.
The draft concludes that the ads do not refer to the Senate candidate because he does not speak in the spots, which feature his son. Also, the candidate's name is part of the company's dealerships. As a result, the ads do not amount to electioneering, according to the opinion by agency staff.
It will not have the force of law unless it is approved by FEC commissioners. They are to consider the matter on Sept. 9.
The Darrow Group has continued to run the ads in the 30-day primary period while it waits for the final advisory opinion.
"It would have hurt our business not to be able to continue on the path that we're on," said Darrow's son and company president, Russ Darrow III.