The Humane Society Legislative Fund has disclosed $27,475 in independent expenditures opposing Republican Frank Niceley’s campaign for the state Senate and agreed to register as a political action committee in Tennessee, an official said Monday.
Drew Rawlins, executive director of the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, said the HSLF disclosure form was received in his office Monday. He then sent an email to PAC officials advising that, as he reads the relevant laws involved, the PAC should have registered with Tennessee’s Registry of Election Finance before spending in a state legislative race.
In a prompt reply, the group promised to file the registration papers, Rawlins said, and that will conclude the matter with no further action. The failure to register seems an honest mistake that is being corrected, he said, and the PAC was obviously not trying to conceal its spending.
HSLF spokesman Dane Waters said last week that the Washington-based PAC’s attorneys thought that no registration in Tennessee was required, but that filing a disclosure report was necessary. Indeed, the report – covering the period July 25-Aug. 1 was not legally required to be filed until Oct. 10 since the spending occurred after July 23, the last deadline for disclosures before the Aug. 2 primary election.
The disclosure shows most of the money went toward direct mail pieces that attacked Niceley for legislation the group saw as supporting horse slaughter, cockfighting and “canned hunting.” The rest – $6,687 – went to pay for automated phone calls to voters criticizing Niceley on the same issues.
Niceley, who currently serves as a state representative, had estimated earler that up to $50,000 was spent by the group. He defeated three opponents to win the Republican nomination in the six-county Senate District 8 and will be unopposed in the Nov. 6 general election.
Note: One of the anti-Niceley mailers is reproduced below.