KLAS TV 8 Hit with FEC Complaint over U.S. Senate Debate

BEFORE THE UNITED STATES

FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION

BARRY MICHAELS

Candidate for U.S. Senate

9708 Gilespie Street,                                                            MUR:

Suite 104

Las Vegas, NV 89183

(702) 415-0905

e-mail: nevadaonly@yahoo.com

Complainant,

 

v.

KLAS TV 8

3228 Channel 8 Dr,

Las Vegas, NV 89109

(702) 792-8888

Nexstar Media Group, Inc.

545 East John Carpenter Freeway

Suite 700

Irving, TX 75062

(972) 373-8800

KTVN-TV

Sarkes Tarzian, Inc.

4925 Energy Way

Reno, NV 89502

(775) 858-2222

Respondents,

 

COMPLAINT

  1. This complaint is filed pursuant to 52 U.S.C. 30109(a)(1) and is based on information provided by Respondents.
  2. THE PARTIES
  3. Complainant Barry Michaels is a natural person and citizen of the United States of America, a non-partisan registered voter and an Independent Candidate for U. S. Senate residing in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  4. Respondent KLAS – TV (“defendant KLAS”) is a Las Vegas television station owned and operated by Nexstar Media Group, Inc. a foreign corporation doing business in the State of Nevada.
  5. Respondent KTVN is a Reno, Nevada television station owned by Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. is a foreign corporation doing business in Nevada.

 

OPENING STATEMENT

Today more than ever, Americans want a greater choice when casting their vote for political candidates. Our two-party system is no longer functioning as intended while Congress often standstill and remains silent. More and more voters are choosing to separate themselves from political parties and register as Independents.  Nearly one third of all voters (311,388) in Nevada have disassociated themselves from either party and deserve to hear an alternative voice in the upcoming debate.

Even though Independents represent a large segment of voters, candidates who choose to run as Independent’s face extensive hurdles and are often silenced by party influence. Public debates are a critical means whereby a candidate’s voice can be heard and discriminating against that surely amounts to an illegal means of influencing our elective system and doing irreparable harm. Public interest is best served by allowing debates to take place with multiple candidates with different views

 

THE LAW

  • 11 CFR 110.13 Candidate debates.

(a)Staging organizations.

(b)Debate structure. The structure of debates staged in accordance with this section and 11 CFR 114.4(f) is left to the discretion of the staging organizations(s), provided that:

(1) Such debates include at least two candidates; and

(2) The staging organization(s) does not structure the debates to promote or advance one candidate over another.

(c)Criteria for candidate selection. For all debates, staging organization(s) must use pre-established objectivecriteria to determine which candidates may participate in a debate. For general election debates, staging organizations(s) shall not use nomination by a particular political party as the sole objective criterion to determine whether to include a candidate in a debate. For debates held prior to a primary election, caucus or convention, staging organizations may restrict candidate participation to candidates seeking the nomination of one party, and need not stage a debate for candidates seeking the nomination of any other political party or independent candidates.

 

STATEMENT OF FACTS

  1. Complainant is one of only five candidates currently running for the U.S. Senate in Nevada and the only Independent (non-partisan) to appear on the Nevada general election ballot for 2018 election.
  2. On July 30, 2018 Complainant received a three-page letter from Respondent (KLAS) (attached herein as EXHIBIT A) regarding the participation in their upcoming U.S. Senate debate scheduled for October 4, 2018.
  3. Page 2, Paragraph 3, Section a – g of EXHIBIT A specifies their requirements for an active campaign needed to participate in their debate. Complainant fulfills all of the requirements in paragraphs 1 – 3.
  • Complainant maintains a commercial office used as his principal campaign Headquarters.
  • Complainant maintains a campaign phone number.
  • Complainant campaign website: BarryForUSSenate.com
  • Complainant has appeared and continues to appear at numerous campaign events and candidate night’s.
  • Complainant has a fundraising page contained on his website and a campaign Treasurer.
  • Complainant has designed and printed several pieces of campaign literature.
  • Complainant has been interviewed several times by the press and numerous articles about him can be found on the Internet.
  • Complainant also maintains a significant social media presence.
  1. However, Page 3, Section 5 of EXHIBIT A lists an additional requirement. It states “a candidate must have reported, on official forms filed with the appropriate election authority, accepting $50,000 in monetary, as opposed to in-kind, campaign contributions, at least 25 percent of which must be raised from in-state constituents.”
  2. According to the letter Complainant must forward all documentation to Respondent by September 6, 2018 in order to qualify for the debate. However, the FEC reporting period end September 30, 2018 and due October 15, 2018.
  3. According to the statute, debate staging organizations must use “pre-established objective criteria to determine which candidates may participate in a debate.” 11 C.F.R. § 110.13(c).
  4. The FEC has determined that to be objective, a criterion “must be free of content bias, and not geared to the selection of certain pre-chosen participants.”
  5. Although the term “objective” is not defined in the regulation itself, it has generally been described by courts as referring to evidence of “the sort that can be supplied by disinterested third parties,” Bourke v. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., 159 F.3d 1032, 1037 (7th Cir.1998) (internal quotation and citation omitted), “that can be discovered and substantiated by external testing,” Thompson v. Sullivan, 987 F.2d 1482, 1488-89 (10th Cir.1993), or evidence that is undistorted “by personal feelings or prejudices and that are publicly or inter-subjectively observable or verifiable, especially by scientific methods.” Association of the Bar of the City of New York v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 858 F.2d 876, 880 (2d Cir.1988) (citation omitted). Objective representations have also been described “as `representations of previous and present conditions and past events, which are susceptible of exact knowledge and correct statement.'” Id. (quoting United Ben. Life Ins. Co. v. Knapp, 175 Okla. 25, 51 P.2d 963, 964 (1935))

 

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

  1. On May 18, 2018, Complainant filed his petition with the Nevada Secretary of State which included 346 signatures of registered voters in Clark County, Nevada.
  2. Complainant filed a financial disclosure with the Nevada Secretary of State.
  3. Complainant also filed a financial disclosure with the Secretary of the U.S. Senate.
  4. Complainant is one of only five candidates running for the U.S. Senate in Nevada and the only Independent (non-partisan) to appear on the general election ballot for the 2018 election.
  5. Complainant has reason to believe Respondent’s (KLAS) method of selection is discriminatory and has been arbitrarily and capriciously chosen without objectivity as required by the 11CFR 110.13(c).
  6. Complainant has reason to believe Respondent (KLAS) operated in a manner designed to support and perpetuate the Democrat and Republicancandidates by protecting them from any political competition.
  7. Complainant has reason to believe Respondent’s(KLAS) selection of criteria which could only be met by the Democrat and Republican candidates does not satisfy the FEC’s 11CFR 110.13(c) rules of “objective”.
  8. Although the term “objective” is not defined in the FEC regulation, its has generally been described by courts as referring to evidence of the sort that can be supplied by disinterested third parties. or evidence that is undistorted by personal feelings or prejudices and that are publicly or inter-subjectively observable or verifiable, especially by scientific methods.
  9. Political candidate’s viability should not be measured by donated amounts. What one candidate can do with one amount, another may be able to do with half that amount. Under Respondent’s policy a candidate who receives the maximum personal donation from 18 individuals would be considered a valid candidate.

 

  1. STATEMENT OF CASE
  2. As of August 8, 2018 the Nevada Secretary of State indicates there are currently 311,388 active non-partisan registered voters in the State of Nevada (EXHIBIT __).
  3. Nevada voters who have registered non-partisan have chosen “not” to commit allegiance to any political party and deserve to hear a third and independent candidate.
  4. Respondent set their selection method to include two candidates only, the Democrat and Republican while excluding anyone else.
  5. Respondent currently receives revenue from both Republican and Democrat candidates through their campaigns from ads aired.

 

EXHIBITS

  1. Respondent’s Debate Letter
  2. Nevada Registered Voters
  3. Corporate Charter – Barry Michaels For U.S. Senate 2018
  4. 2006 Congress 3rdDistrict Primary Results 15%+
  5. Vote Smart online listing
  6. BallotPedia online listing
  7. Nevada Secretary of State photo being sworn in
  8. S. Term Pledge thank you
  9. August 9, 2017 Press Release
  10. October 11, 2017 Press Release
  11. June 20, 2018 Press Release
  12. Washington Times Candidate coverage
  13. Barry Michaels website Donation Page
  14. Barry Michaels Magnetic sign
  15. Barry Michaels Twitter Page
  16. Barry Michaels Instagram Page
  17. Barry Michaels Facebook Page
  18. Barry Michaels LinkedIn Page

 

VERIFICATION

The complainant listed below hereby swear under penalty of perjury that the statements made in the attached Complaint are, upon their information and belief, true. Sworn pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §1001.

 

__________________________________

Barry Michaels

 

Sworn to and subscribed before me this ____ day of August 2018

 

_______________________________

Notary Public