The Roanoke Times is reporting this morning that the Attorney General has authorized an investigation into a campaign ad that attacked Roanoke City Council candidate Court Rosen through a false name provided by incumbent candidate Brian Wishneff. Rosen won a seat on Council while Wishneff lost his.
The ad carried a disclaimer reading "Paid for by Joe Smith, Citizens for Sensible Decisions". But, there is no Joe Smith and Citizens for Sensible Decisions is not registered with the VA State Board of Elections. I guess this time the group didn't live up to it's name.
Citizens for Sensible Decisions, Brian Wishneff included, fashions themselves as a kind of watch dog for the people, standing up to corrupt City leaders and demanding more open government. A noble cause for sure, but their tactics leave much to be desired. Their message is littered with vitriol and personal attacks. The attack ad in question is a great example. But this time, it was even worse. They didn't even have the courage to "stand by their ad", as State law requires.
And now that they have been caught, their reaction is even more telling. To them, it's just no big deal. They admit they might not have done the right thing, pleading ignorance, but is ignorance really an excuse to violate the law? Apparently the high standards with which they judge others do not apply to themselves. I hope Roanoke City voters remember this when the next election roles around and Citizens for Sensible Decisions begins to throw stones while hiding behind it's wall of self righteousness.