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Political reality TV show "Independent" could run afoul of federal campaign finance laws

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 11:25 PM
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Political reality TV show "Independent" could run afoul of federal campaign finance laws
The Politico: Independent voted off finance island?
By: Kenneth P. Vogel
Jul 14, 2007

Mark Burnett, meet the Federal Election Commission.

Burnett, the reality TV pioneer behind Survivor and The Apprentice, is teaming with MySpace on a politically themed reality show with an interesting twist. Unfortunately for him, this one could run afoul of federal campaign finance laws.

The show, called Independent, aims to launch next year in time for the real presidential election, though its still network shopping.

The concept -- as presented in a hyperbolic press release predicting the show will help reshape the face of American politics, including the next presidential election -- is clever. Contestants will deal with issues proposed by MySpace users and the shows viewers that will require interactions with supporters, protesters and activists.

Over the course of the series, through a combination of Internet-powered direct democracy and the broad reach of TV, viewers will be empowered to put a genuine stamp on which issues they care about most and identify the one who truly represents them, says the release, which predicts the winner will become the nations next great politician.

That person will get a $1 million prize, but not to keep. Instead, the release says, the winner must choose how to spend it from a list of options, all political in nature.

Jim Dowd, a spokesman for Burnett, couldnt provide such a list, but the release poses a few hypotheticals.

Will the winner choose to donate the money to a political action group (e.g., global warming or education reform)? it asks. Will they provide the initial donation to form a third political party that better represents the voices of young Americans? Will they make their own run for the White House in 2008? All of these decisions will be shaped by viewers who watch the show, and influence our winner.

Heres where the reality candidate might run into real problems with the really complex real laws governing how much real candidates, committees and parties can raise and spend for real elections....
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