Curious, Curious

In several issues of the News Herald before the election, there had been ads run by the Loudon County Chamber Of Commerce and the Lenoir City Committee of 100 in support of the two Lenoir City charter amendments on the August 2nd ballot, to change the mayor's term and to eliminate the elected treasurer/recorder position.

If I read the new Lenoir City budget correctly, the city donated $5,000.00 to the Lenoir City Committee of 100 and $7,000.00 to the Loudon County Chamber Of Commerce. To be clear, if the members of these two civic organizations want to take a position on a particular political issue, that's OK.

There is however a problem when a civic organization that takes money from a government agency then takes a position on a political issue supporting or opposing that government agency. That could move them into the category of a Political Action Committee (PAC) and may require them to register with the local election commission.

I'm making no accusations about the motives of the two organizations that do a lot of good for the community but it's always a bit murky when nonprofit, civic organizations cross over into the political realm.

Given the cost of advertising in the News Herald and the number of times the ads ran, the two organizations spent a pretty good bit of the donations the city made to the organizations to support the two charter changes the city was promoting. Is there a circle here?