MT Commissioner of Political Practices Issues Campaign Violations Decision on Stanford, Dartmouth Fake Mailer Scandal, Refers Profs to County Prosecutor

MTguineapigfightersThe MT Commissioner of Political Practices has issued a decision that the scandal in which Stanford “researchers,” along with a researcher at Dartmouth College, sent 100,000 fake “voter guides” into Montana, with the look and feel of official state voter guides. You can see the fake voter guides at the Flathead Memo here.

Motl’s decision refers to a report on the debacle by Carroll College political science professor Jeremy Johnson, which I encourage you to read:s

“[t]he researchers’ assumptions about liberal and conservative turnout amounted to guesswork…

From the perspective of a campaign regulator it seems incredibly naive for any academician to assume his or her vote seeking document is any different than the vote seeking document coming from any other corporate entity.24 Even viewed solely from an academic perspective the Montana Flyer approach was troublesome. As Professor Johnson put it “…the most appalling aspect for many voters, the intent to manipulate vote totals that could potentially change the outcome of an election, was absent as a consideration in the process”. ([from a report by Carroll College Political Science profession Jeremy Johnson which is attached to the McCulloch v Stanford Dartmouth final decision.])

Johnson concludes his report by echoing sentiments first posted at the Cowgirl Blog and the Flathead Memo.

The myopia demonstrated by the researchers, the Dartmouth IRB, and the Stanford University response is emblematic ofhow academics have fallen short in showing respect for the communities and institutions they study.

A former California campaign regulator commenting on the matter in the California press  put it more bluntly:

Schnur also said he found the researchers’ actions “incredibly condescending.”

“They would’ve never dreamed about sending out this mailer to voters in Palo Alto or Woodside or Atherton,” he said. “But they assumed these were dumb Montanans who wouldn’t know any better.”

You can read more at the Flathead Memo.