Chris Hiatt is the president of something called CDCPTR -- Citizens of Delaware County for Property Tax Repeal. He now faces a misdemeanor charge after being indicted by a grand jury for:
knowingly making "an expenditure for the purpose of financing communications expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate through a newspaper, without the required disclaimer and without noting whether the candidates had authorized the communication."
What was his great crime against humanity? He placed a newspaper ad endorsing candidates for the 2008 election. The ad listed the CDCPTR as the source of the endorsements and featured the group's logo, but did not -- get this recklessly dangerous practice -- "have a formal disclaimer." The man had the gall to exercise his First Amendment Rights -- throw the bum in jail. While the clown princes of the political world and the punditocracy mull whether nude dancing should be "protected free speech," this is the kind of crap that goes on almost without protest.
Much is being made in Muncie about all the politics involved. The prosecutor is a Democrat, and the ad endorsed mostly Republicans. On the same day, an ad by a labor organization also appeared -- also without that "formal disclaimer" -- which endorsed all Democrats. The prosecutor did not seek an indictment for that ad. Now, that selectivity may or may not be an abuse of power, and at the least it seems like a blatant double standard. But it's beside the point; politicians have been unfairly rewarding their friends and sticking it to their enemies since the beginning of time.
The outrage is not that nobody from the labor union faced indictment but that Hiatt did. But in an era when Congress can pass, the president can sign and the Supreme Court can uphold something as blatantly unconstitutional as McCain-Feingold, it's probably not worth even getting worked up over.