News

Press Release: AL.com Writer Clete Wetli Who Attacks Mo Brooks Is a Paid Political Operative of Joffrion Campaign

July 29, 2018
Mo Brooks for Congress
P.O. Box 4678, Huntsville, AL  35815July 24, 2018
News Release
For Immediate Release

RE:   AL.com Writer Clete Wetli Who Attacks Mo Brooks Is a Paid Political Operative of Joffrion Campaign.

Former Democrat Party Chairman Clete Wetli writes weekly guest editorials for AL.com and The Huntsville Times.  AL.com discloses Wetli’s partisan bias by stating, “Clete Wetli is a liberal political activist living in Huntsville and a regular contributor to AL.com.”

Through May 22 of this year, Wetli wrote 20 AL.com editorials.  As would be expected of a left-wing activist and former Democrat Party chairman, Wetli’s 20 AL.com editorials regularly attack conservatives, Republicans or President Trump.  None of Wetli’s first 20 editorials in 2018 attacked Alabama GOP Congressman Mo Brooks.

In stark contrast, since May 29, 75% of Wetli’s columns (six of eight) attack Congressman Brooks.

For example, in one editorial Wetli falsely claimed Mo Brooks supported separating illegal alien families at the border.  When pressed on The Dale Jackson show, Wetli was forced to admit he had no evidence to support his accusation and simply made it up.

In another editorial Wetli falsely claimed Brooks wanted opioid addicts to suffer.  Wetli focused on one vote on one opioid bill to deceive readers, ignoring the 60 other opioid bills that have passed the House of Representatives.

Why the seismic shift in Wetli’s editorial focus?  In politics, it is often wise to follow the money.  Democrat Congressional candidate Peter Joffrion’s Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) disclosures provide the answer.

Joffrion’s most recent FEC filing reveals Joffrion cut Clete Wetli a $2,000 check on June 1, ostensibly for “consulting fees – field representation.” [1]

Wetli wrote, and AL.com published, 20 editorials before May 29.  Zero attack Congressman Brooks.  After Joffrion agrees to pay Wetli $2,000, 75% of Wetli’s editorials attack Mo Brooks.  The cause and effect of $2,000 is obvious.

Federal election law states, “public communications that would require a disclaimer include . . . public communications coordinated with a federal candidate . . . that are paid for by a political committee or that contain express advocacy.” [2]

Wetli is a paid political operative of the Joffrion campaign.  Wetli’s editorials are “public communications.”  Hence, Wetli’s anti-Mo Brooks attacks are not only coordinated with and paid for by Joffrion’s campaign, they are written by Joffrion’s campaign.

The Huntsville Times and AL.com have every right to print what they wish.  But, ethically, and perhaps legally, whenever Wetli attacks Mo Brooks, AL.com should disclose that Wetli’s column is a paid political advertisement by Joffrion for Congress.

A “paid political” disclosure means The Huntsville Times and AL.com are open and honest with its readers about Joffrion’s payments to Wetli and ends the risk of possible violations of federal election law.

[1] FEC.Com; 2nd Quarter, 2018, disclosure.
[2] FEC publication, “Special Notices on Political Ads and Solicitations”

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Paid for by Mo Brooks for Congress